COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A new study released by the Colorado Health Institute last week focused on veterans and suicide, and why the rate in Colorado is higher than the nation's.
The study found that nearly seven out of 10 veterans in Colorado who did not receive the mental health care they needed reported stigma-related reasons as a barrier. That's nearly double the percentage compared to non-veterans.
Kirsten Belaire, Director of Behavioral Health at Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center, says the study shares insight on issues veterans have told her they face when accessing mental health resources.
Veterans and active-duty service members make 20 percent of suicides in Colorado, according to data Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Data also shows that for every 100,000 veterans and people currently serving, 52 of them died by suicide in Colorado in 2016.
Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin spent 29 years in the military and now serves as the chief operating officer for Mount Carmel.
As a veteran he feels as though most stigmas come from within. He says the military has a culture of helping others and often veterans or active duty find it difficult to focus on themselves.
The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255. Press 1 when prompted. You can also send a text message to 838255 or chat online.