Veterans advocates push to end suicide epidemic - WSMV Channel 4

Veterans advocates push to end suicide epidemic

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Men and women who fought for our nation are coming home, and now many of them are facing struggles in everything from employment and housing to physical and mental health.

An event Wednesday at Centerstone included people from Operation Stand Down and the 1, 2, Many: Veteran Suicide Project.

The veterans came for different reasons - information on healthcare, employment, housing - but they all share one thing in common.

"Everybody's situation is different, but we're all veterans," said Chris Capps.

"Even though every one of these agencies are providing services Monday through Friday, they're all scattered out different places. So this gives the community the opportunity to come together in one and provide a smorgasbord, if you will, of services," said Bill Burleigh, executive director at Operation Stand Down.

Capps, a third-generation Marine, came for some clean socks and, perhaps, a new place to live. He was injured by homemade mustard gas in the jungles of Colombia and still has trouble breathing and, sometimes, coping.

"I've been homeless off and on for the past five, six years. And now I'm homeless again," Capps said.

For others, the problems are worse.

"The Veteran Affairs is reporting 22 suicides a day across all generations and all branches of service," said Timothy Lawson.

And that is what organizers hoped to address Wednesday. They want to end the veteran suicide epidemic.

Capps said he's hanging in there.

"None of us like to ask for help, at least I don't like to ask for help, but that's something we have to face. And the truth is there's a lot of help out there, if we need it," he said.

Operation Stand Down offers many of these services during the week. For more information, visit

Organizers say they hope to have another event in the fall.

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