The most comprehensive study yet made of veteran suicide concludes that on average 20 veterans a day are taking their own lives.
One veteran suicide is one too many!
The Old Man is angered and saddened by the results of this comprehensive survey provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is amazing that the VA sponsored survey can state:
“We as a nation must focus on bringing the number of veteran suicides to zero.”
Yet at the same time the VA will delay, linger and wait on the issues and legislation that can directly impact those numbers! There are still delays in appointment times at VA facilities; there are still mindless self centered managers in the VA who are manipulating the numbers for their own personal agenda; and there are Veterans who are dying while this is happening!
The Old Man is also acutely aware of a significant finding in the survey:
Veterans age 50 and older are more likely than their younger counterparts to commit suicide
This is my generation, the Vietnam Veteran, and the generation of Desert Storm; we are the servicemen and women who laid it on the line for Our Country. As our generation and all generations of Veterans age, we face the challenge of decreasing activity due to infirmity and disease.
We age out of our jobs and our physical activity can decline. If we were fortunate enough to have children they grow and go on their own. We are left to our own and the horrors of PTSD become more pronounced. Medication dependency increases as the current treatment for PTSD relies on “better living through chemistry”.
Now, what the hell can be done to stop this free fall into suicide?
That is probably the toughest question to answer.
- The Old Man does not believe that the VA has found an answer!
- I do not believe that they have committed the resources to find the answer.
- “The” answer does not exist in my opinion.
There are “multiple” answers that require the coordination of the VA, the private sector and the support organizations that are available to the Veteran community. In particular, the coordinated efforts of uniting a Veteran and a trained service dog. An effort supported by organizations and private companies who help fund the efforts to make it happen!
The Old Man strongly supports those who understand this concept and are attempting to put it into practice. There are members of Congress who recognize this format and are pushing for legislation that will enable a combined effort. I applaud their efforts and urge you to support their work by contacting them and letting them know you stand behind them.
We as a community are responsible for “covering the six” of our own and making a serious effort to demand that those responsible for our care are doing the best damn job that can be done!
Thanks for reading this and if you want to learn about one of those relationships, the unique and special bond between wounded warriors—especially those suffering from PTSD—and their service dogs check out the book below. It is well worth the read!
See larger image