ALABAMA (WHNT) — Statistics show that veteran suicides have been decreasing some over the past few years, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

However, advocates say just one veteran suicide is too many. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Suicide is not something many people want to talk about, but that does not mean it’s not happening.

For many reasons, many veterans struggle with their mental health following their selfless service to our country.

In Alabama alone, 143 veterans lost their lives to suicide in 2021, according to the VA.

That’s why the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) launched “Operation We Remember” last week, setting up 143 American flags in front of the Alabama Department of Archives and History as a visual representation of each life lost.

Nearly 50 college campuses around the state will do the same at some point this month.

The hope is that this sparks conversations about the reality that suicide knows no boundaries and the reality of how many veterans are taking their own lives because of “invisible” wounds.

The ADVA said “Operation We Remember” aims to get people talking about suicide prevention and make more people aware.

Experts say raising awareness of suicide prevention can help more people understand the cause and circumstances that lead to mental health issues in general.

“Over the last year, 23% of all contacts to 988 were made by Alabama veterans,” said Alabama Department of Mental Health Commissioner Kimberly Boswell. “This plainly demonstrates the continued need for crisis services. The Alabama Department of Mental Health is dedicated to expanding 988, Crisis Centers and related services, to save lives.”

For more information about veteran suicide prevention, click here.