High Suicide Rate Among Nevada Veterans

Nevada has some of the highest suicide rates in the country. When it comes to Veterans in this state one study shows suicide at epidemic portions.

Last December in Las Vegas Metro Police fatally shot Rhonda Gibson's husband who they say rammed his vehicle into their patrol car.

“Up until last month, he was on anywhere between 90 and 120mgs Valium a day,” said Gibson as she related her husband’s medical problems.

Stanley Gibson was a Gulf War Veteran.

Gibson says he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

While the shooting was *not* determined "suicide by cop," questions about suicide and veterans prompted the Nevada State Health Division to look at just how often Nevada veterans are choosing to take their own lives.

“It just screams for attention,” says Luana Ritch with Nevada’s Health Division.

The suicide rate among male veterans in Nevada is at 48.3 suicides for every 100,000 people.

The male suicide rate in Nevada is 29.9 percent. The national average for males is 19.2 percent. The female veteran suicide rate in Nevada is six times higher than the national suicide rate.

Ritch is the study's author and a bureau chief with the state health division. She says veterans can be exposed to severe forms of trauma and violence. Yet during their service they are also surrounded by people who are experiencing the same thing.

The support can be one way to get through the tough times.

Once the ticker tape parades are over, that kind of support may not be around.

With high unemployment, financial strains, and personal relationships challenged, Veterans can find themselves isolated with what they perceive as no where to turn.

Ritch says this is not a Veterans Administration problem. She says state, local and community based programs to create policies, programs and actions to stave off the epidemic.
If you are a Veteran in crisis or know one who is you can call the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 press 1

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