The system for returning veterans is irrefutably broken. It is estimated that 22 veterans and active duty United States troops commit suicide every day. These statistics are appalling and tragic. Many sources dispute this number claiming it’s undercounted. Without stellar care upon their return to civilian life, our government is endangering the lives of these ex-servicemen and women. This insidious epidemic should be gripping the headlines daily!
This rate is exceptionally high when compared to the civilian population. A staggering fifty percent higher than individuals who never served in the Armed Forces. Realizing there was an abhorrent phenomena, the first suicide prevention center was opened in 1958.
The suicides vary distinctly between age groups. Thirty one percent are younger than 49 years of age, while 69% were aged 50 and older. Ninety seven percent are male veterans. Combat veterans with PTSD pose a higher suicide risk. These denominations are quite telling, proving there is most definitely a pattern here.
Transitioning from a veteran’s life to a civilian lifestyle proves difficult for a lot of combat veterans. They often withdraw from every day life because of service-connected traumas; therefore, they feel isolated, and cannot relate, nor adjust to the traditional civilian lifestyle. They often feel like outsiders and struggle interacting socially as they have nothing in common with civilians. In addition, since The Vietnam War, combat veterans especially still receive negative treatment from a subsection of the general public because of the unfavorable stigma placed upon them by the media.
These war-ravaged combat veterans are seized by PTSD, ceaselessly encompassed by abject despair and terror. Hopeless and backed into a corner with no way out, they choose suicide.
“We need more experienced and compassionate doctors, and extensive follow-up care. The current VA doctors are incompetent and treat us like a number. The VA system is backlogged. It’s demeaning. It deepens our feelings of hopelessness,” says a New Jersey homeless ex-serviceman who wishes to remain anonymous.
They deserve nothing less than concrete and lasting protection, not just the illusion of it. Not VA hired, inexperienced interns, social workers and mental health workers merely going through the motions.
"As a practicing neuropsychologist, studies show with our current technology, and accumulated knowledge, there are established Exit Evaluations. These physiological measures could be used as a carefully crafted screening processes, which could definitively detect psychological disorders which could trigger suicide attempts. These disorders include PTSD, depression, combat related guilt, hyper-anxiety, and a host of additional emotional disorders. These Evaluations would need to be followed by succinct and mandatory in-depth assessment and subsequent, tailored treatment with the goal of rehabilitation and reintegration into society. It is no doubt a long and laborious process which requires a predetermined and well thought out therapeutic agenda. Furthermore, it seems previous government administrations ignored and intentionally concealed these horrendous suicide statistics. It is time to end this colossal embarrassment to our country and to implement policies to save our noble soldiers and veterans,” says Lisa Cicetti, PsyD, LMHC, BE., and CEO of NeuroIntegration Works, LLC.
“We, as Americans of this great country have a collective responsibility and sacred duty to ensure they’re duly protected, supported and looked after with the highest priority and medical standards available. As a nation, we must be fiercely committed to solving this tragic dilemma. It is imperative these veterans be pulled from their insidious psychic darkness, and their suicidal impulses restrained. With uncommon fortitude, they fought bravely and selflessly, protected our rights and our freedoms. They’ve sacrificed and suffered enough hardship. They deserve our perpetual gratitude, ” says Stacia McDonough, President, Independence for Veterans, Inc.
LET’S RAISE AWARENESS NOW! EVERY HOUR COUNTS!
If you, or anyone you know of is having thoughts of suicide, or sense something might be amiss, please act immediately by contacting the Veterans Crisis Hotline at 800-273-8255.
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