Saturday, September 17, 2016

Stop Being Comfortably Numbed by Numbers on Veteran Suicides

Suicide Awareness Shouldn't Be Easy For You
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 17, 2016


The headline on USA Today from the editorial board was chosen as "Every 72 minutes a veteran commits suicide" and it has been repeated all across the web. The question is, why?

The editorial pointed out this, "A veteran is choosing death every 72 minutes, and the VA could be doing more to keep that person alive." 

Later on there was this, "Of 20 veteran suicides daily, just six were enrolled in VA health care. The others either chose against going to the VA or were ineligible for its care." That pretty much summed up the simple fact that they are in fact getting help to live from the VA.

So why put a number on our veterans seeking to end their suffering with suicide instead of healing without putting in the facts?

Here are some basic facts they forgot to mention.
2012 VA Suicide Report page 18

In 1999, according to the VA chart, there were 20 veterans committing suicide a day. At least the ones they could find. When you look at those numbers it is important to know the backstory. According to the US Census Veterans Day report of 2015 there were 21,369,602 veterans. For the 2000 Veterans Census there were 26.4 million veterans which translates into the stunning fact that we are down by over 5 million veterans. 

Why didn't the editorial board wonder why the same reported number of veterans committing suicide has remained the same even though we're down that many veterans? You're probably thinking that would be important since veterans have been the subject of research for the last 4 decades topped off with "awareness" and a surge in spending attempts to change the end of their story.

There is an interactive map on the link and you can find the number of veterans in your state.  I looked up Florida and we have 1,569,406 veterans living here and most of them are Vietnam veterans along with the other fact that most are over the age of 50. That is another omitted fact within the reports from the VA.


Within those numbers reported are families left behind. Within those numbers is the fact that those older veterans managed to survive combat, all the following years starting those families, working toward a future, but then surrendered their lives. Within those numbers there is the other fact that all generations came home with the war being fought within themselves, yet it was Vietnam veterans pushing for all the research 4 decades ago.  They are last on the list of the new charities popping up focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans leaving Vietnam veterans without any attention at all.

So why is it that after all these years, there is an equal number of suicides committed by less veterans after all that has been "done for them" or is a matter of what was "done to them?"

If you're like me, you've paid attention to all of this since our husbands and wives came home. It is a safe bet that you're just as angry over all of this as I am. When will we matter enough that these reporters actually figure out that these veterans are not just numbers to us? They are our family members.