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Local veteran says Veteran Suicide Prevention month should remind us to check in on those who have served

In the years after the terror attacks, thousands put their lives on the line to make sure our country was safe. But once their duty was over they faced another war.

TOLEDO, Ohio — September is Veteran Suicide Prevention month.

For some, this time of year can bring memories and trauma to the surface that are often hard to move on from.

The days leading up to and following September 11 are not always happy ones, especially for our veterans.

It's been 20 years since the traumatic event, and many of them are still feeling the effects.

"I think we're all just a little nervous. Of course, there are those feelings of those we've lost but there's also the nervousness of the unknown of the future," said Jen Wakefield, Director of the Lucas County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

In the days, months, and years after the terror attacks, thousands put their lives on the line to help make sure the country was safe.

RELATED: Mental health resources available for Ohio veterans

But once their duty was over, they faced another war; an internal one.

"Between the military and first responders, I believe specifically police officers, more of us are dying by our own hands than in combat or in incidents on the job," said Wakefield. "So, it's definitely a problem".

Wakefield, who is also a veteran, says veteran suicide numbers are rising and our nation's current landscape isn't making things better.

She says now is the time to start looking out for, and checking in on, anyone in your life who has served.

"Those of us that wear the mask really well, we're upbeat and outgoing and don't seem to be negatively affected. Those are the people you should be checking on," said Wakefield.

RELATED: Longest war: Questioning America's decades in Afghanistan

Wakefield encourages veterans to reach out to your local Veteran Affairs (VA), if they are struggling and need help. 

She says being there and talking to others who have similar experiences really helps.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, here's some info to help.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255. You can also get help online and by texting 4HOPE to 741-741.

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