Veteran Suicide

JT Gordon

Rates

The suicide rates for veterans is very high, at about 22 victims a day, or 1 every 65 minutes. The rates may be higher than that though, because many of these deaths are not accounted for due to families who don't want their lost one to be ruled as suicide. In a survey conducted by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, about 30% of all veterans have considered suicide. Most victims (69%) are age 50 or older. The main reason for this, experts say, is that it could be because their kids are out of the house, or they are getting to an age where they are having a harder time doing things that they could do before, so they begin to loose confidence in themselves.

Why?

The Pentagon reported that July of 2012 was the worst month ever recorded for veteran suicides since they began releasing the information. The University of Utah conducted a survey that clarifies suicidal behavior is not a symptom of mental illness, but a response to intense psychological suffering and stress. The study also says instead of treating them with medication, they should do more meditation, considering this can calm the nerves and replace suicidal thoughts with peaceful relaxation. Though this research has been conducted, there is not rock hard evidence to support these are the only factors.

Help and Prevention

In 2012, President Barack Obama signed a bill that put forth $107 million to help fund mental health treatments to veterans who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Stop Soldier Suicide has also attempted to help veterans more verbally as a nonprofit group with an emergency hotline. The hotline has received over 890,000 calls between 2006 and 2013. So there are places for help, but many times the soldiers do not want help, or want to feel more self dependent, when they sadly can't be.

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