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New Figures Show High Veteran Suicide Rate in Mo.

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Some disturbing numbers were released Thursday concerning Missouri’s military veterans and suicide.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 25 percent of suicides in Missouri involve a veteran.

That compares to some states, including Illinois, where the rate is as low as seven percent.

Life Crisis Services Director Heather Barnett says many vets who commit suicide have sought help but can’t make it through the gap between where they went for help, like a hospital, and their next appointment.

“Whether that’s with a case manager, a therapist, or a psychiatrist. So there is a gap in services and that is very dangerous for somebody who is struggling with mental health issues,” she said.

Barnett says one reason that gap exists is because the number of veterans needing services far outnumber the amount of people who can provide them.

“The VA can only afford to pay so many workers. You have three case managers to a population of 300 individuals,” she said. “It’s just sometimes unbearable.”

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