SEPT. IS SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH
HOW ABOUT THE OTHER 12 MONTHS OF YEAR
Long Well Known That 20 Veterans A Day Commit Suicide
So Why Not A Better Handle on This National Tragedy?
The Center for American Homeless Veterans (CAHV) seeks to draw attention during National Suicide Prevention Month to the human tragedy of how many veterans commit suicide a day. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently reported that the average number of veterans who commit suicide each day remains unchanged at 20. CAHV is urging the VA and Members of Congress to move from the well-known research to effective solutions.
The VA has made efforts, such as expanding the Veterans Crisis Line, creating cross center partnerships with organizations, implementing the Joint Action Plan for Supporting Veterans During Their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life, Launch of SAVE online suicide prevention training, and developing the National Strategy for Veteran Suicide.
Those Who Serve 10% More in Peril
Yet veterans account for 18-20 percent of suicide deaths in the country, even though they equal 8.5 percent of the adult population as of 2017 according to the report from the Federalist. Those who stayed home have a far better chance of living longer.
The Center for American Homeless Veterans calls out to the VA, Congress, and Americans to reach out, speak up, and help reduce this number. Where is the real action???
Veterans Do Not Leave the War Behind The research already exists on what can drive a veteran to suicide. Multiple deployments in war zones can often cause traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress to our returning warriors. Those 99% of the population who did not serve, have understandable difficulty imagining such maladies.
Many veterans who return from harm’s way continue to look left and right over their shoulder as they walk down the street for a year or more. Many veterans who have served will not allow themselves to be seated in a restaurant without having their backs to the wall. Their peers who did not serve are not concerned with imagined fields of fire when they go out on a Friday night to have a pizza.
Study after study has been conducted, supposedly to find the causes of why veterans are such a considerable risk of suicide.
How about more action? How about more PhDs in clinical psychology be hired by VA hospitals to provide actual therapy to veterans at risk, instead of giving heavy medication?
How about more Members of Congress get behind new bills that directly confront veteran suicide? How about more candidates for Congress talk about the issue on the campaign trail?
How To Help Your Loved Ones
In the meantime, if you or someone you love is at risk, please extend your hand to a veteran and access any or all the following resources:
The Center for American Homeless Veterans is a national nonprofit organization that fulfills its mission by advocating to the public and Congress about the needs and solutions for American Veterans, with an emphasis on those left behind, such as homeless and disabled veterans. By molding public opinion, CAHV helps shape public policy. The forerunner of the organization was established in 1993. During its history, it helped sponsor 196 forums and receptions around the country, many of which highlighted transitional facilities. Over 100 Members of Congress were hosted and spoke at those events.
Brian Hampton is President of the Center for American Homeless Veterans. He completed eight weeks of Basic Training and another eight weeks of Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Dix, NJ. After successfully completing 23 1/2 weeks of Infantry Officer Candidate training at Ft. Benning, GA, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.
His first tour was at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg, NC. He completed Jungle Warfare training in the Panama Canal Zone and then served a year in Vietnam. Among other assignments, he served three tours at both the Pentagon and at Ft. Bragg. He graduated from Command and General Staff College. He is a retired Major from the Active Army Reserve.