VFW surgeon highlights a need for help

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022

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An average of 22 veterans daily commit suicide. Fourth District VFW officers heard that statistic in Victoria on Saturday, Aug. 13 as VFW Department of Virginia Surgeon Mark Maggio gave a presentation to the group.

Maggio said the latest statistics show 40,075 suicides in the general U.S. population of 330 million. Compare that to 6,435 suicides in a veteran population of 19.5 million. Maggio said veterans are twice as likely as other residents to commit suicide, with the most vulnerable ranging between the ages of 58 and 72. Vietnam veterans are starting to exceed the Gulf War population in suicides, Maggio added.

Gulf War era veterans (1990 to present) total about 8,051,000 or 50% of all current living veterans followed by Vietnam Era (6,258,00), Korean War (1,096,000) and World War II (326,000).

With this being the case, Maggio pointed out the need to let people know about the 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline. The hotline is manned 24/7 with trained counselors available to help veterans or others experiencing suicidal thoughts. Like 911, all that is required is that a person in need of services to dial 988.