ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) held its Stand Down event Friday.
The one-stop-shop offered all veterans and service members, including active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel, housing and legal assistance, employment programs, medical screenings, education programs, personal items, vaccinations and meals provided by the DVA, federal VA, veteran organizations, other state and federal agencies and community providers.
Andrew Conkin, an Army veteran from Middletown, is among Connecticut’s more than 250,000 veterans.
“There are veterans who I help on the regular that may not have the resources that they need,” Conklin said. “Events like this really help out because you never know what you need when you don’t have it.
Events like Stand Down aim to give back to the men and women who have selflessly sacrificed so much.
“A special thank you to the Vietnam vets, the Korean Vets, the ones who are aging out… the ones that may need more assistance,” Vietnam veteran Ron Catania said. “But I don’t want to single out any vet because all vets are important.”
In many states, Sept. 22 marks Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day — a reference to the estimated 22 veterans who take their lives daily.
“The national average right now is that 22 veterans a day commit suicide due to PTSD,” Conklin said. “I believe that’s a statistic that gets overlooked too often.”
The suicide rate for veterans who served after 9/11 has significantly outpaced the increase among the general population, jumping tenfold from 2006 to 2020, according to new research.
The findings — from an analysis of more than 2.5 million service member records — suggest those who served after the 9/11 attacks have faced unique challenges adjusting to life after the military.
If you or someone you know needs help, resources or someone to talk to, you can find it at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or by calling 988 and pressing 1 for veterans. People are available to speak with 24/7.