TROY, N.Y. – They choose to serve our country, and then sometimes they feel so alone they choose to die.
The suicide rate among military men and women is frightening -- more service members committed suicide in 2012 than died in combat.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held a Town Hall Forum for Veterans Monday. NEWS10 spoke with Major General Mark Graham and his wife Carol who lost two sons to different battles, one to suicide and the other in combat.
Their hope is that by sharing their story, they will raise awareness and help save lives.
Though retired from the military, Graham is still fighting; fighting to raise awareness about suicide prevention, speaking to a crowd of 50 during the forum held at Hudson Valley community College.
"My wife and I lost a son Kevin to suicide after his junior year of college he getting read to be a senior ROTC cadet at the university of Kentucky and was on medication for depression and came off the medication at took his own life," Graham said.
Kevin took his live in June of 2003; seven months later his older brother 2nd Lt. Jeff Graham was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq.
"This isn't easy for us," Graham said. "We do this, we listen, because Jeff said to us before he left, mom and dad don't ever quit because there's a lot of Kevin's out there and they need you," Graham said.
Also speaking out was Dr. Ann Haas from The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Haas created an online veteran self-check quiz -- it's a completely anonymous way those who are at risk can learn more about their mental state and seek help from a professional.
"In the 22 months since this quiz was posted more than 25,000 people have used it," Haas said.
Graham says making a personal connection with someone is one way people who are at risk can get help.
"No one should feel alone because there's always someone out there who cares about you, I promise you there is, even if there at the other end of the phone or a website, someone else cares about you, so call the numbers go to the website and talk to someone who can help you because there is help."
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