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Military and Veteran Suicide Prevention in the Granite State

Local mental health advocates plan an expo for service members, veterans and their families. They says there is a big gap in New Hampshire, because it is the only state without a military base. (NAMI)
Local mental health advocates plan an expo for service members, veterans and their families. They says there is a big gap in New Hampshire, because it is the only state without a military base. (NAMI)
July 18, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire ranks in the top 10 in the nation as home to the most veterans, but it is also the only state that does not have a military base to help provide veteran services.

Annette Carbonneau, director of Adult and Family Programs with the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire, says her group is working to fill the gap with a Military and Veteran Family Initiative.

As part of that effort she says her organization is taking on the critical issue of suicide among New Hampshire veterans.

"Well, in general, veterans are at a 50 percent higher risk of suicide than those that do not serve in the military," she says. "So, that alone is an alarming statistic."

Carbonneau says as part of the initiative, her group is conducting mental health first aid training to help veterans understand how to respond to psychological injuries and prevent suicide.

Carbonneau says military families in other states can access programs at a local military base, but Granite State vets don't have a base to turn to, like most veterans.

"And they also have that peer support, it's a sense of community, and we don't have that in the state of New Hampshire," she adds.

Carbonneau says her group will be holding an expo in Concord next month where some of the focus will be on toning down the stigma that keeps many veterans from asking for help.

"The military culture itself is one of honor and strength and courage,” she points out. “And research shows that stigma is the number one barrier to military members, and veterans and military families to seek out help."

New Hampshire is home to the eighth largest veterans population.

The Military Family Expo will take place on Sept.17 in Concord. It is free to all service members, veterans and their families.

They are urged to register on line at www.nhmilexpo.com.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH