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Fort Harrison secured after suspected suicide

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Fort Harrison

Fort Harrison

The Fort Harrison VA Medical Center was secured after someone died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the Helena facility around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, officials reported.

“Currently, Fort Harrison VA Medical Center is safe and secure,” a Thursday press release from the Montana VA says. “The facility is open, and Veterans are being directed to their appointments by staff.”

Preliminary details indicated that a single person was involved and no other injuries were reported, the press release says.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton said officials believe the person died by suicide.

The incident is being investigated by the VA Police and the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

“We encourage any Veteran, family member, or friend concerned about a Veteran’s mental health to contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255,” the press release says. “Trained professionals are also available at www.veteranscrisisline.net. The lines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. VA Health Care System is here for our Veteran community and has a wealth of mental health resources available.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., released a statement on the incident.

“The news out of Fort Harrison today is deeply saddening, and I’m in touch with local VA officials and authorities on the ground," he stated in an email. "Mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing Montanans, and it’s clear that we need to make sure everyone — including frontline workers and veterans — are connected with the life-saving mental health care they need and deserve.”

Tester is chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

A somber statistic shows veterans are at higher risk for suicide than most people. Dr. Matthew Miller joins Good Day Seattle to discuss how suicide is preventable and there is hope.

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