Monday, March 25, 2013

Sad Statistics for Vets

I read a newspaper opinion piece I found to be disturbing and disheartening. The headline read: "Stop the suicides among our wounded warriors."

The article was written by John Roberts, executive vice president of the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization whose mission is to "honor and empower wounded warriors."

Roberts, who noted that he's also a wounded warrior, referred to a recent report from the Department of Veterans Affairs that found vets "are taking their own lives at a rate of 22 each day, or one suicide every 65 minutes." 
He also noted that there were more suicides among soldiers than combat deaths in 2012 -- 349 to 295.

As a citizen and a veteran, I find those figures to be totally unacceptable. These men and women are sent into harm's way for a variety of reasons, and then we leave many of them without the safety nets they need in their readjustment to normal life.

I recall stories about suicide rates in the National Football League, especially after the death of Junior Seau in 2012.  The NFL recently teamed with GE to look into developing a safer helmet to prevent and improved diagnosis of  traumatic brain injuries. They're spending $40 million on the project.

According to the Twilight Language blog, there have been 12 reported suicides in the past 25 years. 

That's not a misprint. Twelve in 25 years involving NFL players. And we're losing 22 vets EVERY DAY to suicide.

I'm not trying to diminish the deaths of those pro athletes. They left behind family, friends, and teammates.  And I'm glad that measures are being taken by the league to address the problem of head injuries.

What I'm saying is that vets also need our compassion and support. The mental battles for some don't end when they return home. And these vets --who are not high-profile athletes -- also have family, friends, and loved ones who care deeply about them.

As Roberts pointed out, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other "war-related mental health conditions can be successfully treated. It is my hope that we as a nation start to take this seriously."

Roberts closed by writing: "This is a problem for all of us and together we can help those who served our nation."


Until the next time...


  1. I agree with you, Michael. Our Veterans are being let down. Our country isn't taking care of them the way they need. I can't imagine what the divorce rate is in this community. My thoughts are that too many of our representatives have not experienced the war personally. They have no idea what is happening, and really can't be bothered because it would mean alloting more money for their (the Veterans) care and well being. I am not saying all of them haven't been there, but many more than years past. Too many people and too many issues are being overlooked.

  2. You're correct, Sandie. While the VA and Department of Defense have provided assistance to vets, more needs to be done. The suicide rate is at epidemic proportions. I'm a Vietnam-era vet and I can attest to the problems many vets faced after leaving service. I'm sure the same could be said for anyone who served in any war. As John Roberts states, we can't let these men and women fall through the cracks.