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Preventing Veteran Suicide

America is celebrating Veterans Day. Paying tribute to all the men and women who have served our country in the military. But there's an epidemic of soldiers returning home committing suicide. 

22 veterans take their own lives everyday. It's also twice the rate for civilian suicide. Most of it happens after the soldier comes home. About 70% of the cases involve people 50 and older, many who served in Vietnam.

"It's very hard to be in a war zone and not in some ways be almost pushed to that," said David Tripp. 

27-year-old David Tripp is one of the young warriors. He's a Haywood County native and a marine corporal who spent his combat time in Iraq.

"It's tough because when you get back, all of the sudden, where's the off-switch. So many of my buddies that I served with had severe problems. To have that mindset, to go so far as think that they're going to take their own lives, it's tough, it really is. I don't think we're doing a very good job of helping them. Medicines won't do it," said Tripp. 

Carl Mumpower is an Asheville psychologist and Vietnam veteran. His profession is about personal connection and talking through problems.

"We're not giving these young men and women a bridge back to America. They feel powerless, they feel hopeless. Suicide, it's not that they want to die, they want relief from the pain," said Mumpower. 

There is one active-duty military suicide everyday. That accounts for more deaths last year than lives lost in combat in Afghanistan.

An Iraq war veteran has started a non-profit called Stop Soldier Suicide to raise awareness. Click here for more information.


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