SHUTTERSTOCK ILLUSTRATION

Local event to bring awareness to veteran suicides

By AMBER GINTER

Southern Ohio Today


     In Chillicothe, Dress, Right, Dress, Inc. assists service members and veterans during tough times to find hope amid transitional hardships.


     With veteran suicides and mental health issues on the rise, Dress, Right, Dress aims to raise awareness with information about service member and veteran suicides.


     This September, DRD has chosen to pair with the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce with their 2nd Annual ‘Combat Veteran Suicide’ Dining Out event on Saturday (Sept. 19) from 4-7 p.m.


     The event will include dinner, guest speakers, silent auction and a 4-way Q&A panel. ‘Combat Veterans’ is a play on words for combating the issues that many veterans face.


     Jeremy Parkins, Founder/President of Dress, Right, Dress, emphasizes these events’ importance.


     “Veteran suicide dates back decades, if not centuries,” Parkins said. “Resources, agencies, and organizations have failed, for whatever reason, at attempts to mitigate this epidemic.”


     By making the public more aware and encouraging them to become frontliners in the prevention efforts, DRD hopes to mitigate the crisis and save someone’s life.


     “We hope to encourage that veteran or the general attendee who may be suffering to seek help. By doing nothing, nothing will change … it takes all of us,” Parkins said. “On a personal note, I lost a dear friend and servicemember. In Nov. 2017, I was contacted by his wife. We served together at Mountain Home AFB and more needs done; we are just trying to do our part.”


     Proceeds from the event will go to support DRD organizational programs, as well as donating 25 percent to the SAVE VETS collaborative. The event will occur at the Chillicothe Country Club (800 Arch Street), and tickets cost $50. The collaborative is focused on Presidential Executive Order 13861 (President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide).


     “We are working to develop best practices for prevention and awareness through collaborations and comprehensive strategies,” Parkins said.

Dress, Right, Dress, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists service members and veterans with transition hardships.


     According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, although suicide is a public health issue that impacts people from all walks of life, veteran suicide, specifically, is complex. With 45,390 American adult deaths in 2017 from suicide, 6,139 of those were veterans.


     Among U.S. adults, the average number of suicides per day rose from 86.6 in 2005 to 124.4 in 2017. These numbers included 15.9 veteran suicides per day in 2005 and 16.8 in 2017.


     Matthew Miller, Ph.D. and director of the VA’s Suicide Prevention Program, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, said the population can make a difference and help stop veteran suicide. He suggests simple acts to help those going through a difficult time.


     “Sending a text message, email, or phone call are simple steps that can remind someone they are not alone,” Miller said.


     The VA hotlines are available at (800) 273-8255, ext.1, or texting 838255.


     For more information on Dress, Right, Dress, visit the group’s Facebook Page. Tickets for the event are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-combat-veteran-suicide-dining-out-tickets-113365421026.


     “Together, we can all make a difference,” when it comes to reducing Veteran suicide, and being aware, said Miller.