LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — September is National Suicide Prevention Month and a Kentucky organization that works with veterans struggling with mental health is speaking out on how you can help those who might be at risk.
The Veterans Club Inc. helps veterans and their families cope with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues. To do that, founder Jeremy Harrell uses his experience as a combat veteran.
"To use this as an opportunity to say it's quite alright to be going through some hard times but it's not alright to be silent about it and it's not okay to pretend it doesn't exist," he said.
But it's not only who are struggling with their mental health, and Harrell says it's important our society continues to break down mental health barriers for everyone.
"It's actually very smart and courageous to realize that you often need to talk to someone that can help you about things you're going through," he said.
According to the University of Kentucky, 800 Kentuckians die by suicide each year. Psychiatrists say there is no way to know exactly who is the most at-risk.
Harrell says from his experience, one of the signs is isolation.
"Maybe because we don't want to be a burden to someone else or maybe we are embarrassed," he said. "Whatever the case is though, we have to break that mold and surround ourselves with good people who are really willing to help us out."
"I think it's important for people, and veterans included, to stay connected," Harrell said. "It's detrimental if they don't and I think that's the key to getting out of this, is connection."
As everything around us continues to change, it's important we check in on each other.