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THE VETERANS' PRESS: Veteran suicide: Why did he do it?

by WESLEY ANDERSON/Post 51 Chaplin/Service Officer
| July 20, 2021 1:00 AM

Some weeks ago, in my capacity I assisted in setting up Military Honors. In my dealings with the Family, I discovered that the veteran had committed suicide. Why is unknown. He was a highly decorated U.S. Army veteran. A well-respected member of his community, a loving father and a loving son.

Then why did he take his own life. We may never know. The members of his family, and community asked what we could have done, and why did he take his own life. What were the daemons that haunted him? He was seeking counseling. Then why.

Veteran suicide is a growing issue and is a crisis that can only be improved through recognition and discussion in society. However, one part of the story that is rarely recognized is how deep its history goes. This problem is not one limited to a single country or point in time, nor is its importance limited to awareness days. Military suicide has occurred for centuries around the world but has most often been overlooked or ignored.

It is a difficult topic, yet, to save futures lives and pay respect to those who took their own lives, that history must be researched, acknowledged, and debated. We must not forget the women veterans. The issue of suicide among women veterans is complex. Women in the military may deal with a complicated trauma history, as well as greater scrutiny of their emotional state and mental health.

Veterans suicide is a pandemic, the same as COVID. How can we cure this pandemic? Ther is no vaccine. No fast cure. There are phone numbers and outreach facilities, and other ways to help combat this pandemic. The big question is how to get this information out to the veterans in need. How do we help them in their time of need? We as a community, have a moral obligation to see that all men and women veterans within the community have all the resources to help combat his pandemic. The pandemic that has taken veterans from their friends and families.

These deaths have taken their tole on everyone. Unanswered questions. What could we have done; how could we have prevented it? What were the signs. All of tease questions are almost unanswerable? We as a community must find the answers these questions, and when we find them then we as a community must implement them.

Simply put, men and women veterans are dying. It is crucial that we as a community recognize this, discuss it, and face it. What it comes down to one veterans suicide is one to many.

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If this sounds like someone you know please see the “How Can I get Help” Resource page in this publication.

Also see the articles about Veterans in Crisis and Suicide Help in the “Hey Veterans Did you Know?” section.

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How to get help for a veteran in crisis

Find out how to get support anytime, day or night

If you’re concerned about a Veteran in crisis, connect with our caring, qualified Veterans Crisis Line responders for confidential help. Many of them are Veterans themselves. This service is private, free, and available 24/7.

To connect with a Veterans Crisis Line responder anytime, day or night:

• Call 800-273-8255, then press 1.

• Start a confidential chat. https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat

• Text 838255.

• If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-799-4889.

If you’re concerned about a veteran who’s homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:

Call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838 for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You or the Veteran can talk privately with a trained VA counselor for free.

For local help, see the “How can I get Help?” Resource page in this publication.