News Details

Support options increasing for Colorado veterans as suicide rates surge

Source: 7News Denver
Published: Wednesday 10 June, 2015

DENVER - A study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shows surging suicide numbers among U.S. military members, particularly women.

The data reveals female veterans are committing suicide at a rate six times higher than civilian women, according to the V.A. Read The Study Click Here

Officials told 7NEWS additional research and the creation of new tools to help vets in crisis are a priority. The V.A. of Eastern Colorado has created a free mobile app called, "Virtual Hope Box," which allows the user to add visual and audio reminders of reasons for living.

"Uplifting songs, pictures of your friends and family, videos, anything like that," said Kelly Soberay, who is working on suicide prevent research at the V.A. "(Things) that will really bring you back to where you're feeling more centered."

The app is available for everyone, not just veterans.

Also in the metro area, an all-female American Legion Post is working to create a brick-and-mortar location. For now the group meets at the Potter's House of Denver, a church on Florida Avenue, every third Saturday.

"We just we need support," said Kathy Haley, a retired veteran who's part of the effort. "They go to the Legion post, they go to Disabled American Vets, they go to VFW, and there are all these men there. So many of the women don’t want to be around alcohol and all the men."

Haley said she considered taking her own life after she was sexually assaulted during her military training when she was 22 years old.

"There were so many times I didn’t want to live," Haley said. "There were times if it wasn’t for my pet dogs that I had that I would have just decided to take pills."

She now counsels other female veterans in the Denver metro area, and said the startling new suicide numbers aren't surprising, based on what's she's seen.

"I wasn’t surprised by the numbers," she said. "I was glad to see this was finally being brought out."

The Veteran Crisis Line is also an option for veterans and their families to call, text or chat online and get support.

Original Article