Study shows veterans at higher risk of suicide, substance abuse since start of pandemic


MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) — The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute released grim details about projections correlating veteran mental health issues being exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic. The report indicated that for every 5% increase in the national unemployment rate, as many as 550 additional U.S. veterans could be lost to suicide annually, and 20,000 more veterans could suffer from substance use disorder as compared to pre-COVID levels.

“As far as the numbers increasing, that doesn’t surprise me, because of that issue. You just don’t have anywhere for them to go and release that stress.”

Gary Kennedy, Founder of H.E.A.R.T

Gary Kennedy says he sees those effects happening to our vets in the Basin. As the founder of The H.E.A.R.T Foundation — Which Stands For Healing Emotions Above Reason And Thoughts — he says more often he is talking to both men and women about those issues. With June being P-T-S-D Awareness Month, Kennedy says there’s no better time than now to help a vet in need, and ask for help if you are a vet in need.

“The thing about it is when you deal with PTSD anxiety depression anger issues, you need to find an outlet to be able to go do what you enjoy doing and they are trying to deal with it and they don’t know how to deal with it because their outlet was to go workout now that you shut that down and you took that avenue away they don’t know what to do, so they turn to the gun, they turn to the drugs, and the turn to the alcohol…”

Gary Kennedy, Founder of H.E.A.R.T

Kennedy offers outlets to those veterans who are struggling. As a former veteran himself, he can level with other veterans. The mission of H.E.A.R.T. is to do just that. They offer one on one’s, group settings, as well as some community events. His next goal, is a veteran Green Zone, to be done digitally with the pandemic still looming. He needs more interest to be able to do it. His contact info is in the link above.

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