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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

CT mental-health pros seek ways to reduce veteran suicides

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Thursday, February 22, 2024   

Connecticut and U.S. mental health professionals are working to address suicide among military veterans.

Research shows a 95% increase in veteran suicides nationally between 2001 and 2020, peaking in 2018. In Connecticut, recent data is trending lower than previous years.

Experts say social isolation in the COVID pandemic was responsible for some of the nationwide increase.

Dr. Joshua Bullock, a psychologist for the Department of Veterans Affairs of Connecticut, said difficult individual experiences can take their toll as well.

"Oftentimes, PTSD can kind of lead to sometimes a sense of alienation from others, difficulty kind of feeling safe in the world," Bullock explained. "You can imagine, sort of living day-to-day feels unsafe if one is perceiving threats or danger."

Along with programs at area hospitals, Bullock pointed to psychosocial work as an important step in helping veterans adjust to life after deployment. The Department of Veterans Affairs has federal grants available for community-based suicide prevention efforts.

Anyone in crisis or having suicidal thoughts can call 988, then press '1' for the Veterans Crisis Line.

Challenges persist to accessing care, including a lack of mental health professionals in many areas, as well as personal and social attitudes about accepting this care.

Bullock acknowledged misconceptions about veterans' mental health linger, particularly that their lives are devoid of hope.

"What I've learned about veterans who are experiencing these challenges and struggles, from working with them for pretty much my entire career, is that they're amazingly resilient," Bullock emphasized. "Many of these veterans experience significant recovery from mental illness; live meaningful, valued lives."

Bullock noted peer specialists -- veterans who have received treatment -- are helping newcomers understand the importance of getting help when they need it.


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