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WHEREAS, suicide is a major public health concern; and
WHEREAS, 3,250 military service members and veterans in Virginia have died by suicide from 2003-2017; and
WHEREAS, the City of Richmond was chosen as one of eight Cities for the national Mayor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Military Service Members, Veterans, and their Families; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia was chosen as one of seven States for the national Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Military Service Members, Veterans, and their Families; and
WHEREAS, the Governor of Virginia has appointed a multi-disciplinary team to coordinate the implementation of suicide prevention strategies among military service members, veterans, and their families; and
WHEREAS, organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Military and Veteran Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255, offer support for individuals and family members in suicidal crisis or emotional distress; and
WHEREAS, promoting safe and responsible care of lethal means – particularly firearm safety – is vital to the mission of preventing suicides and injury; and
WHEREAS, efforts to increase peer and family support to military and veteran families early and often can save lives; and
WHEREAS, military leaders and veterans service organizations in Virginia are committed to ending and preventing suicide by reducing stigma and encouraging persons to seek help and reach out to others; and
WHEREAS, work throughout Virginia to strengthen capacity and coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and organizations helps to reduce the risk of suicide;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 2019 as SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH – MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS, VETERANS, AND FAMILIES in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.