No, that isn’t the jersey number of my favorite sports player or the number on the side of a car, it is the sad number that every day, 22 veterans lose their battle to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). That is one every 65 minutes and unless you are related to the U.S. military on some level, then you likely don’t really care.
This number is factual and several of my Marine Corps friends are part of that statistic along with one Navy and one Army. And the truly shocking part of these statistics is that the number, 22, only includes veterans. For the purpose of this post, a veteran is someone who served in the U.S. military services and is now a civilian. There are currently 16.5 million veterans in the United States and a vast majority (5.2 million) of them are Vietnam War and Korean war-era veterans with an average age of 75 years old.
The number of suicides in active duty U.S. military is even higher. The rates for the active duty individual services per 100,000 according to the report, were 23 for the Army, 23.1 for the Marine Corps, 14.4 for the Air Force, and 13.4 for the Navy.
This means that over 8,000 veterans take their own life every year and approx 580 active duty/reservists take their own lives annually.
This is far too many deaths and many of them are from PTSD or the invisible wounds of war. The military is really good at training an individual on how to win at war, but once they are done with you, you are out and most veterans rely on the Veterans Administration (VA) for their medical and mental health care. Approximately 400,000 veterans are homeless and rely on the VA. And the VA is not the best at treating mental health problems, and many can’t afford private care.
How can you help? Simple, get involved!
Chances are your neighbor, co-worker, or maybe the older gentleman working at McDonald’s are veterans, and simply listening to them, and being their friend is all it takes. I’m not trying to trivialize veteran suicide, but we have all likely been in a rough spot in our lives, and talking to friends and family helped you get beyond the demons.
You wanted us to fight your battle, you wanted us to kick ass and take names then damn it, you need to want us to live, period! 22 is 22 too many!