The Veteran Suicide Crisis: How You Can Help
They pledge, for a fraction of the pay they could earn in corporate America, to lay down their lives for their country, to live for extended periods in nightmarish war zones, to be separated from family and friends for months and even years, and to work long term under deplorable conditions. They protect others, yet kill themselves at an alarming rate.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
~John F. Kennedy
The Heartbreaking Veteran Suicide Statistics:
The United States is home to 22 million veterans, military personnel who have returned to civilian life. These brave men and women, who served their country and risked their lives to protect the way of life their fellow Americans cherish, commit suicide at a rate 50% higher than the rest of the civilian population, according to a January 2015 article in the Los Angeles Times.
According to CNN, 30% of all veterans have considered suicide.
Veterans make up roughly 10% of the United States population, but the veteran suicide rate comprises 20% of all suicides. The suicide rate is highest among veterans who were not officers, are unmarried, are white, never deployed, and left the military less than three years before. The highest suicide rate occurs in veterans over the age of 50. They account for 69% of veteran suicides. Male veterans are three times more likely than female veterans to take their own lives, but female veterans are twice as likely to take their own lives as civilian women who have never served in the military. Since 1979, over two million veteran men and women have taken their own lives. And veteran suicide is on the rise.
22 Too Many – The Veteran Suicide Epidemic
In 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a report stating that 22 veterans take their own lives every day. And that report includes only 21 states that reported data, accounting for only 40% of the US population, suggesting that the rate of suicide among veterans is likely even higher. Several outreach organizations have formed around this startling number, such as http://22kill.com and http://22toomany.com, to raise community awareness, offer support, and campaign to lower the rate of veteran suicide to zero.
Military Volunteer Opportunities
We encourage you to seek out military volunteer opportunities or contribute to an organization that helps veterans and raises awareness of the hardships they face as they transition back into civilian life. We at Advanced Bio Treatment believe this is the least we can do for those who have done so much for us. We have provided a list of a few of these organizations at the end of this article. Have no idea how to get started or what kind of military volunteer opportunities are available? Military Missions and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are both Web sites that offer extensive information about endless and diverse military volunteer opportunities available to suit every ability, age, talent, desire, and time restriction.
PTSD in Military Veterans
Many veteran-outreach organizations focus on an exercise routine, outdoor recreation and activities, and social interaction because some of the key factors in the healing process and in recovering from PTSD are finding a healthy outlet for aggression, focusing on the body to temper negative thoughts, interacting socially, and making connections with other veterans. Many of the activities these organizations sponsor are things that also provide tremendous benefits and enjoyment to volunteers. Two of many organizations that connect veterans and their families with other veterans through outdoor activities:
- Sierra Club Military Outdoors focuses on getting veterans and their families outdoors to enjoy nature with other veterans and their families. The group travels all over the country and engages in a variety of outdoor activities.
- AHero Foundation also connects veterans with other veterans to enjoy outdoor recreation and social activities. This organization also provides mentoring opportunities through recreation.
In our next blog, we tell you about PTSD and Veteran Suicide and relate heartbreaking true stories of veterans who suffer PTSD, attempt suicide, and complete suicide.
We at Advanced Bio Treatment proudly support our heroes, both active duty and veterans. We proudly support community programs that reach out to veterans and their families and that raise community awareness of the unique hardships our heroes face when they return to us. We are here for you 24 hours every day of the year, and we take emergency calls and work with your insurance company. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684.
Resources for Veterans Their Families and Volunteer Opportunities:
Veterans Crisis Line: Available 24/7. Connects veterans, their families, and their friends with qualified responders from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Confidential and toll-free phone, chat, and text.
Stop Soldier Suicide:
Give an Hour: a non-profit group that pairs volunteer mental-health professionals with combat veterans.