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Jiu-Jitsu used to prevent veteran suicides: ‘Great way to get rid of anxiety and depression’

MILWAUKEE -- Officials at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center are taking a unique approach in the effort to combat veteran suicides -- using Jiu-Jitsu as a form of physical and emotional therapy.

"This is a great way to get rid of anxiety and depression and just to be around like-minded individuals," said Dustin Jackson, veteran.

Jackson, a combat medic, was deployed three times.

"I didn't know that it would change me like it did, but it's changed my whole outlook on how to pursue life. It kind of makes you see things from different angles," said Jackson.

Those involved in the program call Jiu-Jitsu group therapy.

"One of our big priorities here is suicide prevention. What they're learning is how to manage what might seem like a threatening situation in a very controlled and thoughtful way," said Catherine Coppolillo, Milwaukee VA.

Veterans said the sport helps.

"When you step on the mat, none of that stuff outside really matters anymore. The challenge is in front of you, and how are you going to overcome that," said Joseph Flores, Veneration Jiu-Jitsu.

"It's a team mentality. This is very much a team. We're all out here for each other," said Jackson.

It's a free program, open to veterans. For more information, call 414-792-0292, or CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Veneration Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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