This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
A veteran-focused organization in Indiana is helping to care for veterans in the state and stem the tide of veteran suicides with community-led initiatives.
"It's a terrible, terrible thing — veterans dying by suicide — that we need to talk about," said Matt Hall, an Army combat veteran from Fishers, Indiana, who serves as director of Indy Warrior Partnership (IWP). He told Fox News Digital that "IWP's goal is to connect with those veterans, so we can help them feel supported."
IWP, which rolled out last November, proactively connects with the area's more than 100,000 veterans to ensure access to quality resources in collaboration with the community in central Indiana.
September marks National Suicide Prevention Month, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, especially among veterans. Veterans are at a 50% higher risk of suicide than those who have not served.
"Central Indiana veterans report being overwhelmed by the many kinds of resources or, conversely, being unaware of the resources available," the IWP website says. "Collectively, the community has identified the need for proactive outreach to veterans, especially in the suburbs and more rural areas of Central Indiana to educate and connect them to the direct service providers."
Hall, who said he has worked in the veteran nonprofit space in Indianapolis for about six years, stressed that IWP endeavors to help struggling veterans by making them "feel like there's a community around them." He explained that the "four pillars" of their work involve connecting with veterans, educating them, advocating for them and collaborating with other organizations to make sure that veterans gets access to everything they need.
"We can help them feel like there are options and people to talk to when, you know, when the demons come and the walls start closing in," Hall said of IWP's work with veterans struggling with suicidal ideation. "So it's more about reaching veterans, talking to veterans in that community."
"So it's more about connecting and talking to veterans throughout the community, so that when they have these life-altering things happen to them, be it losing a job or house fire or sickness or something that, they know that there's community out there that supports them and they can call and talk to somebody or find some assistance," Hall said.
In 2021, the White House announced a new comprehensive strategy to address and reduce military and veteran suicide in the United States – billing the issue as a "public health and national security crisis."