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Veterans suicide crisis at forefront as Trump visits AMVETS convention

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — President Trump traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday to speak at the 75th annual AMVETS convention.  

AMVETS — American Veterans — claims 250,000 active members nationwide and works to be sure America’s 20 million veterans have access to the services like health care and job training.  AMVETS said its top priority now is the battle against veteran suicides. 

Trump said his administration is committed to protecting those who protect our country.

“No issue facing our veterans is more important than ending the national crisis of veterans suicide,” Trump said.

Before addressing veterans at the annual AMVETS conference, Trump told reporters his administration has taken steps to win the battle against veterans suicide.

“There’s a task force that has been made up,” Trump said.

In addition, Trump said he directed the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase a newly approved drug to treat depression and suicidal thoughts.

“There’s a product that made by Johnson & Johnson which has a tremendously positive, pretty short term, but positive effect nonetheless.”

The medication the president touted was an esketamine nasal spray the FDA approved in March as a fast-acting anti-depressant.

But veterans said medication is only part of the solution.

“We want to remind the United States and all of its citizens and leadership that veterans suicide has not gotten better,” said Sherman Gillums with AMVETS.

Gillums said struggling veterans need long-term solutions. He said AMVETS’ “HEAL” program is helping to provide that.

“To intervene early enough in the crisis to give them stability, not just for that moment but going forward,” Gillums said.

Lawmakers are also considering legislation that requires the VA to better track suicides, and the Trump administration is setting aside billions for prevention efforts. Gillums said he hopes the combined efforts are enough to give veterans the support they need.

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Colder and quiet rest of the week

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A good 20° swing Wednesday morning with temperatures in the lower to mid-20s this morning with feel-like temperatures in the teens. It will be a clear start then brighter heading through the rest of the morning and the afternoon! Sunshine won’t help us out too much in terms of temperatures today. Daytime highs should warm to the upper 30s. Wednesday night will be a cold one with lows in the lower 20s with a partly cloudy sky.

Thursday will be another cold one with highs struggling to reach 30°. It’ll still be a bright one with a mostly to partly sunny sky. A slow warming trend will start Friday with highs warming to the upper 30s with a mixture of sun and clouds.

This weekend will be split with a chance of showers arriving late in the day Sunday. Highs will continue to warm to the mid-40s Saturday with a partly sunny sky. Clouds return Sunday with showers later in the evening and overnight. Rain will continue through Monday. Tuesday looks to be a dry day for now then showers should return by midweek with highs in the mid 40s.

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