Annville, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is encouraging everyone to light a candle at 8 p.m. on Sept. 10 in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day. The annual observance is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
About 47,000 people commit suicide a year in the United States, but military veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military. For female veterans, the risk factor is 2.2 times more likely. When looking at these statistics and factoring in that Pennsylvania serves nearly 800,000 veterans – the fourth largest veteran population in the nation – it is easy to see why the DMVA is so actively involved in suicide prevention initiatives.
“The DMVA and our dedicated partners work together every day to reduce the number of veteran suicides to zero,” said Rick Hamp, special assistant to the deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs. “Lighting a candle on World Suicide Prevention Day is not just a heartfelt gesture, it allows a conversation to begin and hopefully spreads an important message that we all care about those lost to suicide, survivors of suicide and those considering suicide. Anyone can help prevent veteran suicide.”
Hamp is also Pennsylvania’s team lead on the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and Their Families. Pennsylvania is one of 27 states taking part in the Governor’s Challenge. Participants work to implement state-wide suicide prevention best practices and learn from stakeholders nationwide.
Representing Pennsylvania and the DMVA, Hamp recently served as a presenter during the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Virtual Suicide Evaluation Conference.
To learn more about the DMVA, visit us online at www.dmva.pa.gov or follow us at www.facebook.com/padmva or www.twitter.com/padmva.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joseph Butera - 717-903-6791
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