Tue. Mar 28th, 2023
A committee formed to help understand the ways the Missouri can help veterans who are contemplating suicide is taking steps to save their lives.
The committee listened to testimony from Veterans facing the challenge now and from those who have attempted suicide and failed…“And what we heard from veterans, who are facing a challenge with suicidal ideations and mental health issues…I think it was not only eye opening for my committee, but to the public at large” said Representative Dave Griffith of Cole County.
Speaking on the Morning Magazine, he says that committee’s top recommendation was to increase funding to a resource that can help Veterans change their mind…“One of the recommendations that we did…we wanted to increase the funding for 988. That’s the suicided hotline. If you’re entertaining those thoughts? You dial 988 and you’re talking with a real live person.”
He says the number of Veteran and Active Duty suicides has skyrocketed since COVID and he’s hoping a bill he’s placed on the floor that aims to increase money to 988 will make that difference…“We had a gentlemen from the Lake area, about 7 years ago…he got a 357 magnum and put it underneath his chin and blew the top of his head off. And he survived!”
Griffith says that individual shared with the committee his story, and how he was struggling with memories of the past….“He talked about the things that he saw when he was deployed…and how those things continued to live with him and he couldn’t find some way to get that off his mind, so he felt like the only way he could do that was to kill himself.”
That man now operates a non-profit, whose goal is to help other veterans dealing with similar situations in their lives.
Griffith was just appointed as Commissioner of the Missouri Veterans Commission.