UVA Miller Center Discusses Military Suicides

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Yochi Dreazen speaking at the Miller Center Yochi Dreazen speaking at the Miller Center
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia's Miller Center hosted a discussion on mental health as part of an effort to help military veterans. The biggest concern at Wednesday's discussion was the suicide rate for soldiers returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The discussion of mental health in the military is often seen as a sign of weakness. This is a realty that a lot of people are trying to change.

Speaking at the Miller Center, Yochi Dreazen, journalist and author of "The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War" called military suicide the wounds of war. He says every day a member of the military takes their own life.

"We would like to believe that soldiers won't die, that soldiers will come home safe. They may come home safe, and they're still dying," Dreazen said.

The author says that military culture looks down on mental illness as a weakness, and he hopes to change the way we talk about these issues.

"You can seek help and you're not weak to do so. You can seek help and you're not a coward. I hope more generals will say that," he said.

Dreazen advises us all to engage with our veterans - to ask them how they are doing and how they are feeling. He says even a simple discussion can have a big effect.

Dreazen's book and advocacy is inspired by his own experience living and working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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