Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes.
Most of these veterans are young, have just returned to civilian life, and they’re enrolled in the Veterans’ Affairs health program. They’re not being treated for mental health issues, but for other medical issues. And they’re suffering. It could be due to longer and more frequent tours of duty. Some have post traumatic stress disorder. Some have traumatic brain injury. Most come home and – like the rest of us – they can’t find a job. Nobody can pin-point the exact reason why, but young veterans are killing themselves at an alarming rate.
Going back to at least 2008 and in other years since, more American soldiers have committed suicide than have been killed in combat.
Today, we find out about delays in appointment making and inadequate treatment at the VA.
workers were “gaming” the books to disguise excessive wait times
I don’t come from a military background. I’m a pacifist. But this is basic human decency – to take care of the men and women who risk and sacrifice so much. They deserve to be carefully looked after. Instead, we’re ignoring them and hoping they get so frustrated by paperwork and waiting that they don’t seek mental health services. Or maybe they’ll kill themselves before they’re ever seen by a doctor. USA Today story from January 2014 CNN story from November 2013 The Guardian from April 2014 Los Angeles Times story from May 2014