A 2008 VA statistic indicates 18 Veterans per day die from suicide; this number indicates one every 80 minutes or over 6,500 per year. Many believe that this old statistic is just the tip of the iceberg.
Seven percent of the attempts are successful, and 11 percent of those who don’t succeed on the first attempt try again within nine months.(READ MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-blumenthal/military-suicide_b_1884083.html http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/04/military_veterans_suicide_042210w/)
Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate’s Veterans Affairs committee, has been working on the issue for years. One of her priorities is getting more states to report military suicides so the federal government can measure the depth of the problem.
“We now have more soldiers who have died by suicide than in conflict,” Murray said Wednesday. “That is a wake-up call to our community.”*How can you tell if a Soldier is suicidal?
[Servicemen and] Veterans who are considering suicide often show signs of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and/or hopelessness, such as:
- Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
- Clinical depression: deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating—that doesn’t go away or continues to get worse
- Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep
- Neglecting personal welfare, deteriorating physical appearance
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society, or sleeping all the time
- Losing interest in hobbies, work, school, or other things one used to care about
- Frequent and dramatic mood changes
- Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame
- Feelings of failure or decreased performance
- Feeling that life is not worth living, having no sense of purpose in life
- Talk about feeling trapped—like there is no way out of a situation
- Having feelings of desperation, and saying that there’s no solution to their problems
Their behavior may be dramatically different from their normal behavior, or they may appear to be actively contemplating or preparing for a suicidal act through behaviors such as:
- Performing poorly at work or school
- Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities—seemingly without thinking
- Showing violent behavior such as punching holes in walls, getting into fights or self-destructive violence; feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Looking as though one has a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
- Giving away prized possessions
- Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, and/or making out a will
- Seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means of harming oneself
If you become aware of these symptoms, where can you turn?
If you’re on the phone with a service member, and you believe the individual is in immediate danger, try to keep him or her on the line while you or someone else calls 911 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Ask if there’s someone nearby who could offer support, and keep talking until help arrives.
Seek help by contacting a mental health professional or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,
One more parting thought, personally investigate and support the National Alliance to End Veteran Suicide.