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      Veteran suicide rates are high

      September is national suicide prevention awareness month.

      This month is dedicated to increasing awareness of symptoms, treatments and warning signs of mental illnesses. Veterans are among the group that are affected by mental disorders.

      Veterans have fought and served for the country, but that isn't the only thing they are fighting.

      The Department of Veterans Affairs reported in February that about 22 veterans commit suicide everyday. This means there is about one suicide every hour.

      C ommon mental illnesses with veterans include anxiety, post traumatic stress disor d er and depression.

      T he Amarillo VA H ealth Care Center offers various types of therapy and medication to help with the disorders. They are also working to inform people of the warning signs of mental illness and suicide.

      "If someone is acting different... They've become more depressed, more anxious, agitated, if they're increasing substance use, if they're starting to isolate. just any kind of changes in mood that you notice. it's important to look out for that," said Rosalinda Barrera with the suicide prevention team at the Amarillo VA Health Care System.

      Mood swings, hopelessness engaging in reckless activities are also symptoms to watch out for.

      Anyone seeking help can call the veterans crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net