On February 24, 2023, the National Association of American of American Veterans, Inc. (NAAV), the Women Veterans United Committee, Inc., (WVUCI), American Legion District 5, and the CTL Dome Group, Inc. came together to present the 6th Annual on the Hill Program, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The mission was to bring awareness, prevent suicide, and provide behavioral health training and wellness for the veterans and to design a plan of action. This program was also presented on Zoom and Conference Call for other supporters in DC, Maryland, Virginia and nationwide. Guest Speakers included Dr. JoAnn Fisher, CEO, Women Veterans United Committee, Inc., Ms. Constance A. Burns, President and CEO, National Association of American Veterans, Inc., and other dignitaries representing the VFW, American Legion District 5, and CTL Dome Group, Inc.
Guest speakers concluded that it is time to take a stand again suicide by providing training for mental health awareness and create a plan of action to stop suicide in our communities. We need organizations from our communities, rural and urban areas including clinicians and clergy that will bring about change makers to connect and work together to help those most in need of mental care and medical support nationwide.
Our nation’s service men and women and veterans bravely served and sacrificed for our country. Yet nearly 54,000 veterans in the DC, Maryland and Virginia region report that their income levels are insufficient to meet basic needs living in our communities. The latest ALICE in Focus: Veterans Research Brief reveals that while 2.5 percent of veterans live in poverty, another 16 percent – 6.4 times as many – are ALICE (Asset limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and living paycheck to paycheck in our region.
United Way of the National Capital Area’s ALICE data uncovers the harsh realities faced by these struggling veterans. In 2019, 84 percent of veteran living in financial hardship in the DC, Maryland and Virginia region spent at least 35 percent of their income on rent, stretching their budget even thinner. Meanwhile, just 47 percent of veterans living paycheck to paycheck participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which means 4,037 may have gone to bed hungry.
This report shows that learning what works for service men and women and veterans can create change for veterans in need and improve life for all.
WVUCI, NAAV, VFW, American Legion District 5 and the CTL Dome Group, Inc. along with other Veterans Service Organizations and Industry Sponsors can make a difference by hosting events and sharing ways to help establish a better understanding of the mental health crisis we face in our communities and the challenges in preventing suicide due to the increasing numbers of fatalities among veterans.
According to the 2021 National Veterans Suicide Prevention Annual report, the average number of suicides per day among U.S. adults rose 55.0 percent, from 81.0 in 2001 to 125.6 in 2019. Across the same 18-year period, the average number of veteran suicides per day rose 4.5 percent from 16.4 in 2001 to 17.2 in 2019. In 2019, among the average 17.2 veteran suicides per day, an estimated 6.8 suicides per day were among those with VHA encounters in 2018 or 2019. For more information regarding upcoming events, contact Tiffany Daniel at (202) 498-5678, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Special Thanks to Dr. Mary Roach for images and co-author and Constance Burns, NAAV president and chief executive officer for this news report.
Dr. Mary Roach, BS, MS, PharmD.
President and CEO
The JJ Center, Inc. & NAAV Board of Directors
Constance A. Burns
President and CEO
Chair, NAAV Board of Directors