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Polk proclaims September as Military Suicide Awareness Month

COLUMBUS – The Polk County Board of Commissioners this week proclaimed September as Military Suicide Awareness Month.

Commissioners met Tuesday, Sept. 5 and heard from Joyce Preston with the VFW Post #9116 Women’s Auxiliary.

It is estimated that a veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes in the United States, which is 8,760 suicides per year, or 20 percent of all suicides in the United States.

A suicide remembrance and walk is being held tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 9 at Harmon Field to remember those who’ve lost their battles and to give hope to those struggling. The walk/remembrance will be from 6-9 p.m. on the track side of Harmon Field and is free and open to the public.

Following is the resolution county commissioners approved this week:

WHEREAS, in recent years, military suicides have reached numbers equal to or higher than that of combat deaths; and

WHEREAS, more female veterans are committing suicide than ever before; and

WHEREAS, the VA estimates that a Veteran commits suicide every sixty-five minutes. That is 8,760 suicides a year, 20% of all American suicides.

WHEREAS, frequent deployments, stress of combat and prolonged separation from families have increased strain on military personnel and their families; and

WHEREAS, military personnel are reluctant to ask for help when they are depressed; and untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide among military personnel; and

WHEREAS, military personnel are encouraged to seek help to restore balance in their lives, as well as the lives of their families by engaging in stress relief activities, maintaining a buddy system of support so that no soldier stands alone, remembering the importance of self-care by engaging in activities that improve state of mind, asking for help from a professional, being aware that help is available through a variety of sources, including the Veterans Administration and Suicide Prevention hotlines; and

WHEREAS, The Polk County Commissioners join with the Polk County Memorial VFW Post #9116 and the Auxiliary in urging all active and former military personnel and their families to seek help for behavior health issues.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Tommy W. Melton, Chairman of the Polk County Board of Commissioners do hereby declare September 2017 as “MILITARY SUICIDE AWARENESS MONTH”, and commend its observance to all citizens.