MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (AP) -

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a program to train family members, volunteers, and others who have firsthand contact with veterans to recognize signs that they are suicidal.

Secretary John Scocos, on Friday, announced the Zero Veteran Suicide Initiative to train relatives, non-clinical staff at veterans' nursing homes, members of veterans' organizations and others to intervene when an individual may be contemplating suicide.

Vietnam War veteran, Ron Worthey, lost his good friend Chris Surdyk to suicide a year ago and regrets not having the chance to stop the 32-year-old from taking his own life. Worthey says Surdyk, of Weston, had served a couple of tours in Iraq and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all suicides in the United States in 2014.