ALBANY, N.Y. - At a Disabled Veterans summit Wednesday in Albany, experts discussed the most pressing issues facing our nation's heroes when they return home.
For many veterans the transition from the battlefield to home life is sometimes more difficult than the front lines. Most in attendance agreed, one of the greatest risks returning veterans face is suicide. It's a topic that brought some to tears.
U.S. Army Veteran Don McManus says he has seen many of his friends become a statistic.
"I worked with, and I considered to be a friend, and he took his life. Unfortunately he was one of those people that was not able to make that transition," said Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Don McManus.
According to a report from the Pentagon in June suicide rates among veterans have risen since 2005; an alarming problem that veterans say the community needs to take an active role in preventing.
"They have to reach out and acknowledge that we're accountable to these kids and then do something about it," says Bob Nevins, founder of Saratoga War Horse.
Nevins, a veteran himself, is doing something. He pairs veterans with retired race horses. Nevins says the horses provide a healing connection for the veteran.
"There's some kind of a shift that takes place internally for the veteran which gets them out of that place they've been stuck," said Nevins.
But another shift Nevins says is a must, is a shift in the way professionals and government deal with the growing issue.
"Let's start thinking outside the box here because you've already demonstrated after millions and millions of dollars that what you're doing doesn't work," said Nevins.
For more information on Saratoga WarHorse you can visit www.saratogawarhorse.com
For more information on NYSID visit www.nysid.org