About 20 military veterans commit suicide each day in the United States.

About 20 military veterans commit suicide each day in the United States.

Gina Graham, assistant director for the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, said that number used to be 22.

“We still have a lot of work to do because one is too many and 20 is far too many,” she said.

Graham spoke Friday at the beginning of an annual Community Mental Health Summit.

The event took place at Leavenworth’s Riverfront Community Center. About 75 people were in attendance.

The summit is organized each year by the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, which includes the Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth.

VA spokesman Joseph Burks said the event brings together behavioral health care providers from the VA and other organizations from the community.

The event focused on enhancing mental health care for local veterans and their families.

The opening of the summit also featured remarks by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

In addition to serving as the state’s lieutenant governor, Colyer is a surgeon who has treated veterans.

He said the collaboration of the people attending Friday’s summit is making a difference.

“I want to thank you for your service to our Kansans,” he said.

The theme for this year’s summit was “Connecting the Pieces for our Veterans and Their Families.”

“Putting the pieces together is literally who we are and what we do,” said Jennifer Molleker, chief of the transition and care management program for the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System.

She provided welcoming remarks for the summit.

The summit included a full day of activities. These included short presentations about organizations that offer programs for veterans as well as breakout sessions. A resource fair also was set up during summit.

The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System also operates a hospital in Topeka. And a similar summit is planned for next week in Topeka.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR