National Guard Suicides Double in 2010CONTACT: Isabel Black (212) 982-9699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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National Guard Suicides Double in 2010
Aggressive Outreach Programs Needed for Reserve Component
New York– Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released the following statement in response to the Department of Defense (DoD) announcement that suicides in the National Guard doubled in 2010:
“The National Guard and active duty suicide rates should be a wake-up call for every American. A service member commits suicide on average every 36 hours in this country, and the rate of suicide among National Guardsmen and Reservists nearly doubled in the last year alone,” said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. “As a nation, we aren’t doing nearly enough to ensure suicide prevention methods reach every service member. Even as casualties climb in Afghanistan, we are losing service members to this suicide crisis at home at shocking and unprecedented rates.”
Rieckhoff continued, “The DoD’s recent task force report and mandatory post-deployment mental health screenings for troops are a step in the right direction. But without a national prevention campaign targeting every service member and veteran from Kabul to Kansas City, too many men and women of this generation will continue to fall through the cracks. We need real leadership from the President on this issue and we need the Administration to issue a national call for more military mental health professionals. Our country must use every tool readily available to stem this crisis for our troops, veterans and their families who have already sacrificed enough during 10 years of war.”
IAVA has been focused on suicide prevention and mental health issues impacting our community for years. In 2007, IAVA was instrumental in the passage of the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Bill, which created a national suicide hotline for veterans and brought greater awareness to the issue. In 2008, IAVA also partnered with the Ad Council to launch the first and largest national outreach campaign for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the campaign directs veterans to Community of Veterans, the first online network exclusively for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, aimed at reducing stigma around mental health issues, preventing suicides and providing a robust support network for returning veterans.
To arrange an interview with IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, or Deputy Executive Director Todd Bowers, contact Isabel Black, 212-982-9699, email@example.com.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country's newest generation of veterans and their families.
Press ContactsTo arrange an interview with an IAVA Member Veteran, contact us at press[at]iava.org, or call the Communications team at (212) 982-9699.
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