LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Agencies and organizations are working together to connect veterans to critical services including suicide prevention.

If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, call the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255. >>>

In 2017, there were 170 veteran suicides in Michigan, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Specifically, the suicide rate for Michigan veterans ages 18-34 is roughly 3 and a half times higher than Michigan’s overall suicide rate.

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency which 550,000 veterans and their families rely on is leading the charge to address the factors fueling veteran suicides.

“Suicide is a complex issue with many contributing factors,” said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams who is serving on the Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission. “There is no easy answer. But we will continue to collaborate with other veteran-friendly groups and organizations to serve and support our veterans and connect them with the often-critical benefits and resources they earned for their service to our nation.”

Michigan is among 27 states working to implement statewide suicide prevention best practices in the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans and their Families.

The CORE Outreach and Engagement Initiative is aimed at connecting veterans and their families to the benefits and services they need.

The Check on MIVet program lines up a free benefits consult with a veteran who may be struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, lack of quality health care, unemployment or other challenges.

County Veteran Service Fund grants can be used for emergency assistance for veterans which allows eligible veterans and their families in participating counties to buy groceries, pay medical expenses and make home and vehicle repairs.

Operation Veteran Care Package events in Lansing and Detroit drew over 160 veterans who received care packages which included letters of thanks, gift cards, handmade masks, and information on a variety of services available to veterans.

Veterans who want more information on getting connected to the benefits they may have earned for their service can call the MVAA’s Veteran Resource Service Center at 1-800-MICH-VET.