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Yellow Ribbon Helping Mississippi Vets Return to Home Life

By Daniel Cherry | Published 24 Jun 2012 09:32pm | comments
Military officials in Mississippi are helping several hundred service members and their families acclimate to life back at home. MPB’s Daniel Cherry reports one of the areas they're focusing on is lowering a high rate of military suicides.
 
 
 Josh Herring from Sumrall, returned from Kuwait in May, where he served with his military police battalion for 8 months. When he came back to Mississippi, he was reunited with his wife and met his daughter for the first time. Herring says the transition isn’t always smooth.
 
“It’s tough sometimes, but I love it. I love my wife. I love my family. I’d rather be here than over there any day of the week.”
 
Others haven’t fared as well. Military officials are battling the highest suicide rate of active duty service members in a decade. Chaplain Madison Kelly, in the Yellow Ribbon Program with the Mississippi National Guard is reaching out to those soldiers who return home to let them know, help is available.
 
“Whether they’re contemplating suicide or just dealing with depression, we have a large amount of resources available where an individual can talk to someone personally about those things.”
 
One major stress for returning soldiers is soaring unemployment. Captain David Alexander works with the Employer Support of the Mississippi National Guard. He’s working to take that stress away by finding veterans jobs.
 
“What we’re trying to do with ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard) is take away the unemployment stressor. When someone has quality employment, and they’re providing for themselves and their family, it often times alleviates some of those other stressors.”
 
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said last week, he wants to put mental fitness of troops on an equal plane with physical fitness in hopes of fighting the suicide epidemic.

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