The Department of Defense reports that in the last 10 years 4,989 military personnel have been killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, while in the same period 2,293 active duty personnel have taken their own lives. American veterans of these and other wars account for 20% of U.S. suicides. The reality is that this country is now facing an epidemic of dire national security and humanitarian consequences as an increasing segment of our military population is turning to suicide.
Direct causes of this upward trend largely stem from issues of mental health which include traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, survivor’s guilt as well as increased drug and alcohol dependency. These are often exacerbated by the transition to civilian life that removes many of the previous support networks of service life.
Prevalent economic issues aren’t helping things, nor is the stigma that comes with seeking out a mental health professional. 43% of military suicides in 2010 were committed by people who never sought help.
(Article and photo via Policy Mic)
RELATED: My novel Under Angels is a supernatural thriller that explores this topic of suicide and our military veterans. The trailer:
“He refuses to see a psychiatrist. And it’s getting worse. He throws screaming fits in the bathroom. And he keeps complaining of chest pains.” — Beatrice Durante, Under Angels, Chapter Sixteen