Missouri’s veteran suicide rate among the highest in the country

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 10:17 PM CDT
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HANNIBAL (WGEM) - Data show Missouri has one of the highest veteran suicide rates in the country.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the state’s veteran suicide rate was just over 43 percent, and 188 Missouri veterans killed themselves in 2019.

Mark Twain Behavioral Health ERE Program Coordinator Jamie Huffman said they believe part of that is because of how rural Missouri can be, and how easy it is to access a gun.

“Having the access to care is tough in our areas because of how rural we are. It’s overwhelming to get to an office to see someone, wait times, like that, not that we necessarily have a wait time because we try to get out veterans in very quickly,” Huffman said. “The suicide rate for using a firearm is very high so we need to look at reducing access to lethal means. That doesn’t mean taking away someone’s firearm but maybe in the moment, reducing access for that moment.”

If you, or a loved one, is in a mental health crisis, you can call Mark Twain Behavioral Health’s 24-hour crisis line at 1 (800) 356-5395.

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