Federal task force hopes to combat veteran suicide

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 6, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- According to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, 20 United States veterans die by suicide every single day. Now, the Trump Administration has created a new task force to help.

On Tuesday, President Trump announced The President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide, or PREVENTS, a new initiative to end veteran suicide.

The idea for the task force is to develop a prevention strategy across federal agencies, while collaborating with state and local organizations.

"With this collaboration, those of us that work to help people with PTSD can help those that don't understand, tell them the signs and the symptoms of PTSD, what to look for. It's amazing that we can work together and get something started," said Josh Powell, Founder of Project Zero.

Project Zero is a local organization dedicated to raising awareness of veteran suicide. Powell said the announcement was a sigh of relief to hear this crisis reach national attention.

"It's not that people don't care. It's just, it's kind of not in my wheelhouse, not in my neighborhood. But, it's more in your area and your neighborhood than you think," Powell said. "When you get national attention like this, news like this breaks, everybody opens their eyes now."

Powell said he eventually hopes to have the same kind of collaboration locally, working with city, county and emergency officials in Valdosta and Lowndes County to recognize the signs of PTSD.

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