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Austin part of federal program to find solutions for veteran suicide

Austin is among 20 cities chosen by the VA to help veterans and their families struggling with suicide.

AUSTIN — The Department of Veterans affairs is looking locally to find solutions for veteran suicide.

Austin is one of 20 cities chosen by the VA to bring together a team to help service members and their families.

For one Austin veteran, this mission hits close to home.

From prioritizing mental health to providing resources for physical health, Christopher Araujo with Easterseals Central Texas understands that treating veterans is a complex process.

He’s been through it firsthand.

"I'm a veteran myself. I've lost friends to suicide. I mean, I've been there myself, so I definitely have a very vested interest in this,” said Araujo.

His organization was handpicked by Mayor Steve Adler’s office to be part of a team of people coming up with solutions to stop veterans from killing themselves.

One of the options they discussed this week was creating in-depth training for first responders dealing with potentially suicidal veterans and active service members.

"Say a veteran calls 9-1-1 and says, you know, 'I have an individual that may be actively suicidal,' what is the next step for that 9-1-1 operator,” asked Araujo.

He hopes they can come up with ways to implement real-life training for an all too real problem.