In Conversation

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Many veterans face major challenges as they make the transition from military service to civilian life. They’re often dealing with combat injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems. Some end up with substance abuse issues, are unemployed and homeless or don’t receive proper medical care.  

Veterans die by suicide at about two times the rate of people who have never served in the military, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Kentucky outpaces the nation in veteran suicide, reporting a rate of 36 veteran suicides per 100,000 people in 2016 alone. (The national veteran suicide rate is 30.1 veteran suicides per 100,000 people.)

Local veteran advocacy groups have stepped in to help, connecting traumatized veterans with medical help and support.

Governor Matt Bevin has signed laws to support veterans, including a 2017 law to make getting a teaching certificate easier for vets. He also signed eight military-friendly and veteran-related bills this legislative session. Gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear has vowed to address veterans’ issues too, proposing the training of medical professionals on veterans’ needs, giving veterans time off work for medical visits and more. 

This week on WFPL’s In Conversation, we talk about veterans’ issues, including the suicide rate, support systems for veterans and what’s being done to provide them care. 

Listen to In Conversation live on 89.3 WFPL Friday at 11 a.m. or follow along with our live tweets at @WFPLnews. Call with your questions or comments at 502-814-TALK or tweet us with the hashtag #WFPLconversation. We’re also on Facebook.

And if you’re a veteran or know a veteran who could use suicide prevention help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the Department of Veterans Affairs site here.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.