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AI Used to Identify Risks and Prevent Suicide for Veterans

Source: 2 News, Reno NV - Reporting By: Makayla Hardy

As artificial intelligence becomes more popular, so does the love-hate relationship with it. In this case it is a love relationship. One organization reached out and told us how they're using AI to save veterans and those that are still on-duty.

Artificial intelligence is now playing a crucial role in tackling the epidemic of suicides among veterans and service members. In Nevada, 106 veterans ended their own lives in 2020 alone, and that number continues to grow.

We spoke with the vice president of ClearForce, a company using AI to identify mental health risks and helping veteran organizations provide support before they ever consider suicide in the first place.

"Mental health is a key component of individuals who potentially are struggling," said Colonel Michael Hudson, Vice President of ClearForce. "We know that if you are struggling with PTSD or depression, these are mental health diagnosis that can put you at an elevated level of risk that can make you more susceptible to other pressures and stress."

Some of these stresses could be legal issues, relationship problems, workplace issues, income, housing, substance abuse. These can be risk drivers associated with suicide. Col. Hudson explained that they use their technology to pick up on those risk signals and then correlate that data in real time to allow organizations to see that individual who is struggling. Then the organization can start a conversation with that individual on how to help them. He told us that they find the results better than waiting for the individual to come to them. "Why should the veteran who's struggling be the first mover? Why can't the organizations that support those veterans, whether it be their employers, a veteran's service organization, state or federal VA facilities, why can't they be first movers? That's the solution we're bringing into conversation today," he said.

If you are a veteran or active-duty member struggling, or you have a loved one struggling, there is help available 24/7. You can dial 988 and press 1 to be connected with someone in the military who understands what you are going through.

ClearForce does not provide direct service to veterans. If you'd like to see a list of local veteran organizations that can help, you can check out the links on our website.

Friday is the 248th birthday of the Marine Corps, so happy birthday and thank you to all veterans for your service.



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