Federal figures show 133 veterans from the state died by suicide in 2014, and the leader of a local group believes that’s a hard number to verify.
Barb Bigalke is the executive director of the Center for Suicide Awareness in Kaukauna. She says agencies don’t always know if someone was a veteran, unless they hear from a family member.
Bigalke says they’re working with many veterans, and they created a challenge coin to specifically help them. She says it features the American flag, two hands joined together, and the number for their crisis line.
Bigalke says veterans are familiar with challenge coins because each branch of the military has one.
A report from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs shows that veterans accounted for 18 percent of the suicides in Wisconsin, in 2014.