James Maroney


James Maroney



April 1, 2022

Senators Maroney, Cabrera, Osten, Cicarella, Reps. Boyd, Turco, McCarthy Vahey, & Welander Host Virtual Suicide Prevention Summit Discussion Panel Focused On Helping Veterans

Today, State Senator James Maroney (D-Milford), Sen. Jorge Cabrera (D-Hamden), Sen. Paul Cicarella (R-Durham), Sen. Cathy Osten (D- Sprague), State Representative Patrick Boyd (D-Brooklyn), Rep. Gary Turco (D- Newington), Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfiled) and Rep. Mary Welander (D-Orange) hosted the annual suicide prevention summit. The Suicide Prevention Summit was held this year to address the growing issue of mental health awareness among veterans and those currently serving.

Senator Maroney was thrilled with the success of this year’s discussion and hopes an impact was made to those who were listening in during the webinar.

“We send our veterans off as young men and women to do difficult tasks and they often see unspeakable things,” said Sen. Maroney. “When they return, we ask them to assimilate back into society, where they are surrounded by people who do not understand what they have gone through. We know that we can’t do enough for our veterans and it often seems that we don’t do enough. The goal of today’s summit was to help veterans learn about the resources that already exist for them and to help our legislators learn where there may be gaps in the services that are needed.”

“I am thrilled to be part of this incredibly important discussion,” said Rep. Welander. “Coming from a military family and a family who has experienced suicide, I know first-hand how building awareness and providing access to support can literally be the difference between life and death. I look forward to continuing this discussion.”

“Culturally we’ve come to highlight the need for resources to help us all maintain our mental health, this conversation is especially relevant to our military community, as many of our nation’s heroes are unfortunately left behind after their courageous service to our nation,” said Sen. Cabrera. “As Senate Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I am encouraged with the input from those taking part in today’s suicide prevention summit, as these talks can lead to the formation of life-saving policies.”

“The thought of any veteran or active-duty service member taking their own life should spur great collective action from us,” said Rep. Gary Turco, who serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee. “Serving in the military impacts the mental health of not only those who serve but their families as well. We owe veterans and active-duty service members immeasurable attention and support to their mental health after they acted selflessly protecting our country.”

“We’re losing thousands of veterans a year, and hundreds of active-duty personnel every year, to suicide. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but the bottom line is we shouldn’t be losing a single veteran or soldier to suicide. Not a one. They’ve been through too much and have sacrificed too much,” said Sen. Osten. “One of the most basic ways we can help reduce veteran suicides is to let them know what resources are out there for them in those critical, critical moments when they are most despondent. There are options, and we have to let them know that, and that’s what this summit is all about.”

“Our Veterans deserve robust resources and support for their unique mental health needs. As the wife, daughter, and granddaughter of veterans, I know how important this support is to those who served not only in time of war, but in peace time as well,” Rep. McCarthy Vahey said

“This is a serious problem in Connecticut and across the nation, affecting countless Veterans and their families,” said Sen. Cicarella. “These men and women fulfilled their duty to this country and put themselves in harm’s way. It’s now our duty to make sure that we have as much support as possible for our Vets, and that we connect them with this support. The past two years of the pandemic have been hard on everyone in Connecticut, especially for Veterans looking for jobs, housing or other help. My reason for serving on the Veterans Affairs Committee is to make sure that Connecticut Veterans get the help that they need. This forum is a step in that direction and thank you to my Senate and House colleagues for joining this life-saving effort.”

“As House Chair of the legislature’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am committed to addressing suicide among veterans through smart policy and ensuring veterans have access to the resources and programs necessary to overcome these challenges,” said Rep. Boyd. “We owe it to our veterans, who served our country with selflessness and bravery.”

According to the Department of Defense on suicide in the military, the suicide rate among active-duty service members in the U.S. military increased by 41.4% in the five years from 2015 to 2020. The suicide rate among active-duty service members increased by 9.1% in 2020, and from 2018 to 2020, it rose 15.3%.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2019, in Connecticut, it was reported there were 44 veterans that died by suicide. Suicide among U.S. adults and veterans have increased across the U.S. from 29,580 in 2001, to 45,861 in 2019. The average number of suicides per day among U.S. adults rose 55.0%, from 81.0 in 2001 to 125.6 in 2019. Across the same 18-year period, the average number of Veteran suicides per day rose 4.5%, from 16.4 in 2001 to 17.2 in 2019.

There are sadly about 22 Veteran suicides a day. According to the Women Veterans Health Care, female veterans die by suicide at almost twice the rate as non-female veterans. There is a strong correlation between mental health challenges including depression, military sexual trauma, anxiety, PTSD, and insomnia, and death by suicide. As female veterans return back to every-day life when leaving the military, they face challenges and struggles which include financial instability, 67% female compared to 47% male, relationship distress, and homelessness. There is a critical period for veterans. Research shows increased risk of suicide during the first year of a transition back. Utilization of resources can create significant help and reduce suicide rates amongst our veterans.

For those that serve or who have served, crises can be heightened by their experiences during military service. Resources for Veterans can be found here. The Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs also offers resources for veterans including a CTVeterans Mobile App that allows Connecticut Veterans and residents to access crisis assistance by phone, text, and online chat.

To view the virtual discussion, you can click here.