LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As our lives slowly get back to normal in 2021, many hope mental health issues will also improve.
We've seen a rise in the number of people dealing with anxiety and depression during the pandemic and that includes veterans.
But in this week's Veterans Voice, there's a program using its furry friends to help.
Hearts Alive Village, a nonprofit pet adoption center, is helping veterans overcome feelings of hopelessness through their Charlie Mike Program.
The program connects veterans with emotional support animals and waives adoption fees.
Director of Communications Sheryl Green says their goal is giving veterans hope.
"It's been estimated that between 17 and 20 veterans are dying by suicide every day, and I don't know what those numbers look like thanks to COVID, but I can imagine it didn't get any better. So we want to provide that support system for them. A lot of times it's loneliness, you know they don't have people around them, they don't have animals around them so we wanna fix that," Green said.
Hearts Alive Village also helps veterans struggling with aspects of pet care like getting pet food or supplies, getting their shots, microchipping and more.