Monday, May 20 2013 2:57 AM EDT2013-05-20 06:57:27 GMT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
State leaders want to draw more attention to the problem of suicides among active duty service members. Last year, more of them took their own lives than died in combat in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, the State Senate passed a joint resolution declaring February 21st as Suicide Prevention Awareness day. Mental health professionals, among others, will be at the State House to help move the conversation.
"Talking about mental illness, talking about depression. Talking about what suicide is, talking about the warning signs," said Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn. "Getting people out of the darkness and into a position where they can fight suicide."
In 2012, a record number of service members took their own life - 349. That far exceeds the 295 American combat deaths last year in Afghanistan. Whatley is also pushing to have more grant money to UAB and Auburn for research into traumatic brain injuries and other medical issues.
To learn more about the National Guard's efforts to prevent suicide, click here.