The Incoming Tide of Veteran Suicides
By Ken Jones, PhD
Recent reports by the Baltimore Sun and CBS are bringing to light the numbers of suicides among our troops and veterans.
This seems a startling revelation to the current generation. For those of us who have lived through this aspect of combat induced traumatic stress, these suicides are fully expected.
In 1982 Walter Capps, in his book The Unfinished War, observed:
“Less known, and more immediately arresting, is the fact that since 1975 there have been as many suicides among Vietnam veterans as there were combat fatalities during the war itself.”
Translated into numbers this would be something approaching 60,000 Vietnam veteran suicides.
The military has learned to train, fight and return as a unit. This has a stabilizing effect on the troops who remain in the military. The mutual support available among unit members is very important.
According to a VA study, 53% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who committed suicide were Guard and Reserve members. It is the Guard and Reserve members who lose the support and the stability of their unit when they return from combat and go back to civilian life. They are the prelude to what we can anticipate over the next several years.
Approximately 70% of first term enlistments in the Army and Marine Corp do not re-enlist. The reason that we have not yet seen more suicides among veterans is, in my view, partly the result of the “stop loss” provisions that keep troops from leaving the military.
When the stop loss provisions are lifted the tide of soldiers will come back into our communities and experience what the Guard and Reserve members are dealing with now.
What we are seeing today are only the first of the casualties. Communities need to be coordinating services now if they are to have any hope of avoiding the tide of suicides and suffering that is on its way.
MilitaryConnection.com thanks you for your patronage. This web site is a portal of all things military. There is something for everyone including a new job board, listing all types of jobs for military including military jobs, government jobs, veteran jobs, diversity jobs and civilian jobs,. We also feature education for military resources such as information on the newly improved GI Bill, listings of military schools in the military school directory, an expansive scholarship directory and additional education benefits that will aid you in continuing your education. If you need a personal loan, MilitaryConnection.com provides information on military loans and reputable companies that handle them.
We are constantly adding resources, content and valuable features to benefit our audience. This has resulted in the web site quickly becoming the “go to” web site for all things military. Our web site and all of the resources are free to users and we value your input. If you belong to a group or organization, we will post your press releases, special events, newsletters, professional conferences and seminars, reunions, job fairs, and videos to help spread the word.
MilitaryConnection.com has a multitude of employment and educational resources including a Directory of over 30,000 Employers, Job Tips, Columns written by top Job Coaches, our new and improved Job Board, Virtual Job Fair, jobs for military and military spouses, military jobs, government jobs, veteran jobs, diversity jobs, civilian jobs and much more. You will find military education resources information on the GI Bill, military schools, a military school directory, a scholarship directory and information on current educational benefits. We also feature military loan information. When the next tour is back home, it’s on MiltiaryConnection.com.