Almost everyone knows someone who has served in the military, sometimes several someones. But what recent media attention has brought to light is that many of these heroes also suffer from disabling depression, PTSD, and other serious and life threatening conditions. As a result, many vets become victims of suicide. Though popular media has claimed that over 22 veterans commit suicide each day, the actual number might be more startling.
No matter what way you consider it, compared to the general population, veteran suicide rates are remarkably higher than those of nonveterans.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Recent studies show that female service members had nearly triple the rate of suicide relative to women who never served in the military. Similarly, young male veterans between the ages of 18-24 also displayed an increasingly high risk of sucide. Further, veterans who committ suicide are more likely to die by firearms – an important factor, as it is the most deadly method used in suicide attempts.
According to the National Center for PTSD, studies pointing to PTSD as a precipitating factor of suicide suggest that traumatic memories can be indicative of suicidal intentions. Veterans are also more likely to exhibit coping mechanisms designed to repress these symptoms, rather than seeking out alternate strategies or outside assistance.
While mental illness alone is not an indicator of suicidal intentions, nearly 90% of suicides can be linked to undiagnosed mental or emotional issues. For those who do seek help, the outlook isn’t always better. According to a recent article on US News,while only a third of vets use their medical benefits, the wait times in populated areas can amount to months, long past the critical stage for those struggling with mental illness.
Additionally, factors such as alcohol and drug abusemay lead to suicidality by promoting uninhibited behaviors, impulsiveness and impaired judgment. Life stresses from situational conditions such as unemployment or adapting to a civilian lifestyle are also indicated as contributing factors.
Help is Available for Veterans and Their Families
Whether you are a veteran or not, if you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, the best thing to do is seek the help of a professional. The Veterans Crisis Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (800)-273-8255, press 1. And for civilians and veterans alike, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always available at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you are a vet who is trying to obtain services through the VA, these free or low cost options can assist you by providing help in the interim. The important thing to take away is to never be afraid to reach out.
In the unfortunate circumstance that a family member decides to end his or her life, compassionate and professional suicide cleanup is an important step in the healing process. Many of our employees are veterans themselves; they understand on a deeper level the seriousness of the struggle faced by members of the military. While crime scene cleanup service hardly compares to the services performed by men and women in uniform, we endeavor to treat every family with the dignity and respect they deserve. In a time of crisis, the professionals at Aftermath help relieve part of this difficult burden by providing top quality, compassionate care. For assistance with a cleanup, please call us 24/7 at 877-872-4339. Service is available nationwide.