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Health, Science and Environment

Data shows high veteran suicide rate in Michigan

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Veterans are killing themselves at a rate twice as high as civilians in Michigan.

New data from the U-S Department of Veterans Affairs shows the suicide rate is especially high among Michigan veterans under age 35. 

Only Oklahoma had a higher rate for that age group.

Doctor Nazzareno Liegghio is chief of mental health at the Saginaw V-A hospital.

He says young veterans are at risk when they transition out of the military.  

“Usually they enlist around 18 ... 19. So they get out they’re 23 ... 24. They come home. They have a little time to adjust. They have some money coming in from finishing up. And then all of a sudden they find themselves, ‘okay now what do I do?’”

Nazzareno says it can be difficult for veterans to travel to get mental health treatment.

“In Michigan I think the biggest challenge is just our ... huge space and area and location of veterans between the upper part of lower Michigan and Upper Peninsula.”

The data shows the suicide rate is especially high among young Michigan veterans ... ages 18 to 34.

Only Oklahoma had a higher rate for that age group.