PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Now that the war in Afghanistan has come to an end, the Department of Veterans Affairs is working to help the mental health of veterans. A new forum is allowing veterans to talk it out.
“We don’t want any of our veterans to be dealing with this by themselves, right? So, we want to be here for you,” VA Associate Chief of Staff Dr. David Oslin said.READ MORE: Mets, Phillies Minor Leaguers Protest Pay With Wristbands
The Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a new peer-led discussion forum that’s facilitated by mental health experts. It’s meant to give veterans a place to openly talk about the last 20 years of war in Afghanistan.
“Everybody is glad it’s over, but the loss of life is a big deal,” Dr. Oslin said.
Oslin is the associate chief of staff at the VA and a leading behavioral health expert. According to the White House, nearly 2,500 U.S. service members died in Afghanistan.
In its final days, 13 service members were killed by a suicide bomber. The hour-long virtual forum is open to any service member from any conflict.READ MORE: Official First-Edition Printed Copy Of U.S. Constitution Set To Go Up For Auction
“The worst thing that could happen is for a veteran to just internalize this and kind of struggle with it on their own with no support,” Dr. Oslin said.
September is suicide prevention month. The VA says veterans are twice as likely to die by suicide than civilians.
Dr. Oslin says since the suicide bombing last month, calls to the VA’s crisis hotline have doubled.
“Some veterans are really struggling with this with anger, frustration, depression. All kinds of emotions have surfaced for some people,” Dr. Oslin said.MORE NEWS: COVID Outbreak At Robbinsville High School Cancels In-Person Classes For A Week
These forums will be held Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout the month of September.