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Sen. King aims to address veteran suicide 'epidemic'

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 20 military veterans die by suicide every day.

MAINE, USA — On Memorial Day we honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country and remember all they've done. But what about those who make it home and find that the experiences they had while wearing the uniform are haunting them years, even decades after they've taken off their uniform?

 In other words, post-traumatic stress.

"This is just tragic. I mean, 20 veterans a day losing their lives to suicide," Sen. Angus King told NEWS CENTER Maine.

King added that the military spends millions each year to recruit young people into the service. Now, he said, they need to start spending more helping vets get back to civilian life.

"Let's spend as much time money and energy in helping people as they leave as we do bringing them in," King said.

Doc Goodwin is the founder of Maine Veterans Project. The group helps veterans in many ways, including heating assistance, home repairs, and emotional support.

He said one of the biggest obstacles for veterans is that they work as part of a larger group but then are suddenly discharged and sent out to live independently.

"We endured all that stuff together. And then the moment we walk off base, we become individuals, and that's actually the paradigm shift that's most confusing to me is what happens when we walk off base," Goodwin said.

Goodwin is a United States Navy veteran who, like so many others, had no choice but to go it alone after his service. One of the toughest things, he said, was finding a sense of purpose.

"When you wore that uniform you were doing something special," Goodwin added.

Goodwin said he has connected with King's office so they can continue to help as many veterans as they can, here in Maine and across the nation.

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