While we use this day to remember our fallen heroes who have died in battle, we should also take the time remember the vets who have died by suicide. According to the Reuters online website, veterans die by suicide—22 deaths a day or one every 65 minutes on average. This is usually committed by those who are 50 years and older, with numbers of 69% or higher. That doesn’t include, for example, the data from 2012— where there were 349 on-duty suicides.
When our soldiers come home, it won’t always be visible scars…but at times emotional ones. These invisible scars can come in the form of warning signs. According to Maketheconnection.net, these signs can include:
- Feeling hopeless, trapped or feeling there’s no way out
- Having persisting or worsening troubling sleep
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Engaging in risky behavior without thinking of the consequences
- Feeling like there’s no reason to live
In addition to those examples, there maybe more signs that require immediate attention. These may include:
- Giving away prized possessions
- Frequently talking, writing, or drawing about death or about items that can cause physical harm
- Behaving violently such as punching holes in walls, getting into fights or engaging in self-harm acts
- Putting their affairs in order, tying up loose ends, and/or making a will
In Riverside, CA today, members of the organization, Veteran Suicide Awareness Project, had their 3rd annual Memorial Day Ruck March. In this event, they can walk as nearly 40 miles, while carrying 22 pounds of rucksack to signify the 22 veterans who commit suicide everyday. One woman, the event organizer and an Air Force Veteran herself, Evita De La Cruz, carried 22 pounds of her husband’s belongings—such as his boots and helmet from Iraq—who died by suicide in 2013 after serving in the military. The proceeds will go to families who had a vet that die by suicide. I hope their event went well to shed light on suicide and our vets.
If you are a vet or you know a vet who may need help, contact the link below: