ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Veterans Administration is set to give millions of dollars to suicide prevention programs across the country.

Marine and Fairport resident Joe Chenelly is the National Executive Director for ‘AMVETS’. In Washington, D.C. he and others were able to help push to secure $52 million dollars for community programs that will aid veterans with suicide prevention. 

“We really believe this is the answer, and certainly what we should be trying at this point, what has been a long-term epidemic of suicide among our veterans,” Chenelly said.

In the US, we lose about 17 to 22 veterans per day to suicide, a trend that has shown no sign of slowing for years. The VA’s approach to these funds is holistic. 

“They’re doing wrap-around services, where they’re able to help a veteran live their best life. So it’s not just the traditional talk therapy,” he said.

A lot of it moving away from pharmaceuticals and allowing veterans to learn resiliency skills. “How to manage their money, how to work through relationship problems… really looking at the overall quality of life,” Chenelly said.

Some of the funds could be coming to our region. Laura Stradley with the Veterans Outreach Center says the military is a tough environment and the transition to civilian life can be difficult. 

“We as a community need to do a better job of trying to ensure that nobody loses hope. That they know there are resources available,” Stradley said.

She says there’s a lot community groups can do, that the federal government, i.e., the VA, cannot. “Non-profit organizations like the Veterans Outreach Center, we will be applying for this funding.”

The VOC provides job training, employment assistance, legal counseling, housing, and more to former service members.

Chenelly says by providing more resources to places like the VOC and others across the country — it’s the best chance at making 22 daily suicides go down to zero. 

“We believe that this can really be what we need to make real progress in the fight against suicide,” Chenelly said.

This funding is all part of comprehensive mental health legislation that’s been in the works for a year and a half in Washington. Individual veterans groups can get up to $750,000 each.