Panama City, Fla. (WMBB) – September is Suicide Awareness Month and one of the most vulnerable populations in our community is military veterans.

Those at risk have to be identified in order to get them the help that they need.

“If you think someone is possibly thinking of suicide, ask them,” outreach specialist for the Bay County Vet Center Matt Standish said.

He said it’s possible to save people if others recognize the signs of someone who’s suicidal. He knows from personal experience.

“So I asked her, are you thinking of hurting yourself? And when you ask that to anybody you only want one answer,” Standish said.

That answer should always be a firm no. But hundreds of veterans suffering from post traumatic stress are afraid to ask for help.

Licensed clinical mental health counselor September Ann Sims specializes in mindfulness.

“When you are calm and clear you can find you way better, through what’s going on,” Sims said.

Sims said PTSD causes people to overthink, be hyper-vigilant, and anxious. Meditation sometimes reduce stress and keeps patients focused.

“That is why we say meditation, anything to reduce your stress throughout the day and keep you calmer on your path,” Sims said.

The veterans administration says as of 2021, an average of 17 US military veterans take their own lives each day. If you know someone who needs assistance resources are available. There’s also a emergency suicide hotline available by calling 9-8-8.