By Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams
Veterans Day is November 11, but any day is a good time to thank those who have served and sacrificed, and to check on their well-being.
Across the nation, veteran suicides are an ongoing, significant problem. In Arizona, the suicide rate for veterans is 54.8 per 100,000 people, with Maricopa County’s rate at 54.4, according to the Arizona Violent Death Reporting System — both much higher than the national average of 38, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
One suicide is too many, and we must step up as a community to support those who have given so much to our country.
The City of Phoenix is taking action through an initiative called the Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families. An interagency team, made up of military and civilian leaders from the city and state, is developing a strategic action plan to increase support and reduce suicide.
As part of the initiative, Phoenix is also a partner in Arizona’s Be Connected program, which connects service members, veterans and families to resources and support.
Everyone is invited to be part of the solution. Training and support is available to all members of the community. To learn more, visit BeConnectedAZ.org or call 1-866-4AZ-VETS (429-8387) for 24/7 support.