Recognizing the efforts to combat suicide among veterans, the Denton County Commissioners Court recently signed a proclamation designating June as Veteran Suicide and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month in the county.
According to the proclamation, veterans of the armed forces of the United States experience post-traumatic stress disorder and commit suicide at rates higher than the general population.
“Suicide and other consequences of PTSD affect not only the veterans themselves, but also their families, friends and communities,” the proclamation states. “Current initiatives to expand treatment and prevention services are not working quickly enough, but these initiatives can be furthered by increasing public awareness of the issue and by engaging the active support of a broad spectrum of concerned citizens.”
Ginger Simonson, assistant veteran peer service coordinator at the Denton County Chapter of the Military Peer Network, said the organization appreciates the work that the commissioners have done to increase awareness.
“While suicide takes too many lives, in Texas it took about 500 lives in 2016. That’s just too many, but it is better than many other states, and it’s better because of the leadership that the state of Texas shows and the commissioners’ court shows,” Simonson said. “We need continued support to help to get that number down to zero.”
A day-long suicide awareness and training event is set for 9 a.m. June 21 at the Next Steps Center in Lewisville. Those struggling with or have family struggling with PTSD can contact The Denton County MHMR Center, a local nonprofit specializing in the treatment individuals in Denton County with a mental health diagnosis.
“We can only do it with the community,” Simonson said. “We ask you all to join with us as we fight to combat suicide, not just among veterans but among all Denton County residents, because it’s a growing health problem."