Phoenix VA event focuses on stopping veteran suicide

The Arizona Department of Veterans Services hosted a suicide prevention resource fair in Phoenix.

The Phoenix VA hosted a suicide prevention resource fair on Wednesday. Veterans and their families were invited to seek out information and assistance to reduce the number of suicides among veterans.

About 20 vendors took part in the event, held at the Phoenix VA. The fair is in conjunction with suicide prevention month.

Every day across our country, 22 veterans commit suicide.

“It's very concerning because one suicide is one too many,” said Phoenix VA Medical Director Rima Ann Nelson.

The “Be There” resource fair also featured guest speakers, including Marc Raciti. The Army veteran served 24 years. He did two tours in Iraq before retiring in 2013.

“You start that downward spiral to a point where there’s very little chance of crawling back out of that hole,” said Raciti.

With help from his now-wife and friends, the Army vet was able to piece his life back together. He now speaks out in hopes of encourages other veterans to never give up and seek help.

“Call a friend, call anybody, call a stranger,” said Raciti.

The event was jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Arizona Department of Veterans Services, Veterans Benefit Administration and TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

If you or a veteran you know is thinking about suicide please call the VA hotline at: (800) 273-8255.

About 100 people attended the event, including Frank Farrell.

"If it saves one life it is worth it," said Farrell. "Just one life is worth it."

The VA hopes to have other events like this in the upcoming months.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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