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Veterans Day ceremony at Hero Street in Silvis focuses on mental health; here’s how to get help

At the Veterans Day ceremony at Hero Street Memorial Park in Silvis, the keynote speaker focused on helping veterans cope with their mental health.

SILVIS, Illinois -- At the Veterans Day ceremony at Hero Street Memorial Park in Silvis, the keynote speaker focused on helping veterans cope with their mental health.

Lieutenant General Thomas James gave the keynote address.  He's the commanding general for the First U.S. Army at the Rock Island Arsenal.

The lieutenant general spoke about his first-hand experiences oversees and talked about the ongoing issues surrounding veterans and mental health.

"Some of our veterans that come back, the war's not over," he said, "and sometimes these wars are internal. And we've got to make sure we focus on taking care of them and getting them the attention and the professional help that they need. "

According to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, in 2017 6,139 U.S. veterans died from suicide.  By 2017, the average number of veteran suicides per day was 16.8.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says there are warning signs:

  • Hopelessness; feeling like there's no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, mood swings
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities
  • Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

According to the department, any of the following signs require immediate attention:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
  • Looking for ways to kill yourself
  • Talking about death, dying or suicide
  • Self-destructive behavior like drug misuse, carelessly handling weapons, etc.

The Veterans Crisis Line is available for veterans showing any of these signs.  Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.  There is also an online chat, click here, or text 838255.