Suicide prevention a reality, not taboo

Posted at 1:34 PM, Sep 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 17:27:41-04

Suicide Prevention Month is not over and Veterans One Stop in Waco wants to make sure they emphasize the importance of talking about suicide prevention.

Veterans and community members gathered there on Thursday to raise awareness on the reality of suicide, something that many view as taboo.

A ceremony organized by the organization intended for veterans and community members to remember those who, for one reason or another, choose take their lives.

Delisa Russell with Veterans One Stop says that about 20 veterans a day commit suicide. Although that's down from 22, it's still 20 too many. 

Toward the end of the ceremony, veterans altogether released 20 balloons representing those lives that are lost.

For Rick Allen, who is an advocate of suicide prevention, this is something that hits too close to home. His son Nick killed himself after returning from war in Iraq in 2011.

Allen described when one Waco PD officer tried to convince his son to not kill himself.

"[The officer] said 'Mr. Allen, I thought I had him.' She kept getting closer. All the training she had. She said 'I was six feet away from him when he smiled and put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.'"

Now, he's working to prevent similar stories like his family's. "I was lucky to get this job where I get to talk to people about suicide, so I don't grieve as much but it was hard on my family," says Allen.

Veterans One Stop wants to remind veterans that they are here for whatever they need- from counseling to legal help.

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