Veteran suicides are a national crisis, but there are ways to help our heroes

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This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

This Veterans Day holiday brings with it an added focus on mental health. Sadly, many servicemen and women come back stateside to a lack of emotional and psychosocial support following their tours of service. However, one simple activity can help improve former soldiers’ minds and psyches, even as it trains their bodies: Physical fitness. 

According to the most recent statistics, in 2020, a total of 6,146 veterans committed suicide — nearly 17 per day, and the 20th straight year with at least 6,000 veteran suicides. Veterans face a suicide rate more than 50% higher than those who have not served in the military, a mental burden that our nation’s bravest men and women should not have to bear alone. 

The reasons for the epidemic of veteran suicides vary and explain the more significant problems plaguing many veterans’ mental health. For example, in some branches, up to 31% of service members report symptoms of post-traumatic stress after combat and with most businesses not providing specific recruiting avenues for veterans or transition support, some former soldiers

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