Veterans of Foreign Wars focus on reducing suicide rates

HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (KEVN) - The suicide rates in our country are the highest they've been since World War II, and our military veterans are the most at risk.

Celebrating the 130th anniversary of the Veterans Home.

Suicides among veterans is an ongoing problem with more than double the suicide rates compared to the general public.

About 20 veterans are dying by suicide every day, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

The suicide risk is greatest during the first three years after veterans leave the military.

As the caretaker of more than 9,000 veterans, Sean Johnson focuses on reducing the veteran suicide rates in South Dakota.

His motto this year is "you're never alone," and Johnson said even one suicide a day is too many.

"Everybody thinks it's the opioid epidemic, well it's not, it's the suicide epidemic, and the young soldiers aren't going into homes to be forgotten about, they're being forgotten about on the home front and it's causing all these suicides to pop up, and they're being forgotten about and that's causing that epidemic," said Sean Johnson, State Commander for Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Veterans who are struggling can call the Veterans Crisis Line anytime at 1-800-273-8255.