Last week, the Department of Veteran Affairs released the report on an extensive study of Veteran Suicide. We learned the in 2014 there were 20 veteran suicides a day. The last report indicated 22 a day. Another thing that the report told us was that 65% of suicides amongst veterans are people over the age of 50. Also, female veterans are 2.4 times more likely to commit suicide than their civilian counterparts.
Of course, the VA uses much of the report to cheer themselves on. It distresses me that we still hear about veterans being turned away from the VA and committing suicide. Of course, there are two sides to these stories, but I feel that we should never hear these kinds of stories. I know that my chronic pain can make me short tempered and less than polite. I can’t imagine what it is like for veterans dealing with PTSD and TBI, depression or other conditions that are more severe than mine. I think that any veteran coming to the VA for mental health should be given that help unconditionally until they are stabilized and follow-up care can be established. There are many organizations that provide support to veterans besides the VA. Groups like Save A Warrior, IAVA, and Saratoga Warhorse.
Veterans face so many obstacles during and after their transition out of the military that it is incumbent that we, as veterans, try to assist in any way possible. I know that I am still coping with the fallout of my transition and mine was pretty straight forward. As a retiree, I also had a lot of time to prepare before I transitioned out. Those that simply are separated from the service can often receive little or no notice and have no time to prepare themselves. They are then left rudderless and can often feel lost which can lead to depression. For me, it means that we all, as veterans, should be trying to assist as much as we can.
Remember, if your help can keep one veteran from committing suicide it is a great thing for all of us! Help stop veteran suicide!