The veterans suicide rate in the United States has been revealed. Veteran Affairs has released official statistics surrounding the number of men and women who have served in the armed forces and come back, only to take their own lives on their native soil.
Many factors can contribute to this. Post-traumatic stress disorder is among the most common, as a combatant sees something they couldn’t deal with and it haunts their memory for years later. Perhaps it was a friend who died in their arms, or simply watching a wounded soldier with a ghastly injury die, and in some cases, women are raped. These things can be difficult to deal with if they don’t have the help they need, such as a licensed therapist and possible medications.
Whatever the cause, the veteran suicide rate has been reported to be on average of 20 a day in 2014 alone, with a majority of them being men between the ages of 18 and 29. This was actually down from 2010, when the average was approximately 22 percent. This means approximately one in five United States soldiers who come home after active duty will eventually end his or her life.
VA conducts nation’s largest analysis of Veteran suicide https://t.co/lnS6bdGGX1
— Veterans Affairs (@DeptVetAffairs) July 7, 2016
In 2014, 41,425 suicides took place, and 7,403 of those were veterans. Data shows that older veterans are more likely to kill themselves. Many veterans return home after earning very little in the field, and not all of them are able to find jobs immediately. Even the process of signing up for V.A. benefits can be lengthy and require persistence. The inability to find a job in a market, which allegedly caters to veterans, can be a depressing battle for someone who may have taken a bullet for our freedom.
— Kristofer Goldsmith (@KrisGoldsmith85) July 7, 2016
The V.A. claims they are looking into more aggressive ways to cut down the veteran suicide rate, including same-day access for veterans who show clear signs of mental illness such as PTSD. They are also attempting to use data from previous veteran casualties to predict when a surviving soldier will likely need help. They might even be looking into streamlining the process so more veterans can gain access to the help they need sooner and not give up due to the application process and denials.
— Elizabeth McLaughlin (@Elizabeth_McLau) July 7, 2016
The veteran suicide rate has increased since 2001 as well, as men and women who had benefits but couldn’t use them soon enough killed themselves 8.8 percent more often. Those without benefits rose by 38.6 percent.
As VA Tackles Veteran Suicide, Its Image Problem Continues to Hurt Doc Recruitment https://t.co/s9Lw9HDnWW
— GovExec (@GovExec) July 7, 2016
The V.A.’s efforts may have begun to pay off though, since in 2015, 1.6 million veterans with mental health issues were treated. Their work is far from over though, as they plan to look even further into the 55 million death records from veterans dating all the way back to 1979.
The rate following the Vietnam War could be staggering, as many soldiers returned to find their nation hated them for being involved in a pointless war. It wasn’t their fault that the United States felt the need to step in, and the battle was bloody. Returning to so much hate after possibly seeing their own friends die gruesome deaths every day could easily make for a massive veteran suicide rate.
Hopefully, the V.A. will be able to slow down the amount of veterans ending their lives by studying what they already know.
[Image via Png Studio Photography/Shutterstock.com]