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DMVA encourages support for veterans in crisis by lighting a candle

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is encouraging everyone to light a candle at 8 p.m. on Sunday in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day. The annual observance is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

Veterans who are in crisis are urged to call the toll-free Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 988 and then Press 1, sending a text message to 838255, or chatting online. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available to everyone. All calls are confidential.

“It is important to let veterans – especially those in crisis — know that they are not forgotten, and lighting a candle on Sunday is one way to convey that message in a meaningful manner,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “We need to do all we can to assist veterans who served and sacrificed so much for this nation and on our behalf.”

Military veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military. For female veterans, the risk factor is 2.2 times more likely. When looking at these statistics and factoring in that Pennsylvania serves and advocates for more than 700,000 veterans – the fourth largest veteran population in the nation – it is easy to see why the DMVA is so actively involved in suicide prevention initiatives.

The DMVA is Pennsylvania’s lead on the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and Their Families. Pennsylvania is one of 54 states and territories taking part in the Governor’s Challenge. Participants work to implement state-wide suicide prevention best practices and learn from stakeholders nationwide.

To learn more about the DMVA, visit us online at www.dmva.pa.gov or follow us at www.facebook.com/padmva or www.twitter.com/padmva.

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