Forty-eight veterans died by suicide in Maine in 2017, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — a number that has held relatively steady for the past several years.
The suicide prevention coordinator for Veterans Affairs in Maine, Tracy Charette, says a crisis line specifically for veterans is available, as is a warm line for family and friends seeking resources.
“What it speaks to is continuing to put our efforts into understanding it, addressing it as a community. That has been a big focus as we turn towards a public health model,” she says. “The big thing to recognize is that there’s help available. And things can and will get better.”
The number of veteran suicides in Maine has hovered in the upper 40s for the past several years, with the exception of 2016, when there were 29 deaths.
According to the VA report, 75 percent of veteran suicides involve firearms.