Flags planted in D.C. to raise awareness for growing war veteran’s suicide rate

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIAT) — There is a new battle that America’s service members are fighting, and this one is closer to home. More than a thousand Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have taken their own lives this year alone.  Every day 22 US veterans and service members die by suicide.

On Thursday, volunteers planted 1,892 flags along the National Mall to represent the veterans who have died by taking their own lives in the past three months. Many veterans at the event said there is little mental help available for returning veterans, and many decide to take their own lives to end the suffering.

The flags stand in the shadow of the Capitol to press Congress for action. Senator John Walsh has introduced a bill to increase access to treatment for posttraumatic stress and other issues. It increases the time for mental health care from the current 5 years to 15 years.

The Veteran’s Crisis hotline is staffed 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The number to call: 800-273-8255.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-CBS42

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