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Suicide prevention group supports East Texas veterans and families

Suicide prevention group supports East Texas veterans and families
Suicide prevention group supports East Texas veterans and families
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 3:27 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A new veterans outreach program is serving Deep East Texas veterans. ‘Together With Veterans Pineywoods’ wants to connect veterans with one another.

There are veterans that seek out each other’s support already, but the goal is to provide easier access for unconnected veterans.

In Nacogdoches veterans finish up a support circle with clinical psychologist Dr. Sydney Kroll. She says the camaraderie can be a lifesaver for veterans in rural areas.

“It’s easy for veterans to go and not hear anything about military or other veterans, especially if they’re not engaged with any of those groups than they kind of feel like they’re the only one in the woods by themselves,” explained Kroll.

Dr. Kroll knows isolation can potentially lead to depression and anxiety.

“That coupled with alcohol use often times leads to an increased risk of suicide.”

Concerned veterans reached out to ‘Together With Veterans (TWV) to form a Pineywoods chapter.

“The primary focus is on suicide prevention because suicide rates in rural areas are so much higher than urban areas,” said Kroll.

The national nonprofit sent $40,000 in seed money so a chapter can be customized for non-urban veterans.

Yellowdog Shultz lives without internet, phone, and tv.

“I found by staying in the Army for 20 years we all supported each other when things went bad,” said the Vietnam veteran. “So, we didn’t have that problem until after you retire and you ain’t got no support group.”

Robert Estepp, a Iraq veteran added, “And so we got each other.”

Connection will be combined with community awareness.

“They (TWV) will actually give us the funds to be able to train organizations and businesses and individuals in suicide awareness,” said Kroll. “And that’s one thing we will really be pushing out.”

According to Kroll, for the first time in twenty years the national veteran suicide rate has dropped from 22 veterans a day to 17 a day in 2019.

Follow the progress of ‘Together With Veterans Pineywoods’ on its website and Facebook page. You’ll find links at KTRE’s Big Red Box. The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255. After connection press 1.

For more information visit twvpwoods.com.

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