When thanking them for their service isn't enough
By Aaron Ricca
Originally Published: December 18, 2016
Suicides caused by homelessness, easy access to guns and substance abuse are well known and documented. “Those are the ones that are reported to the VA,” said Farrell. He added that the grisly deaths – car accidents and suicide by cop – that don’t make the official reports “is unacceptable.”Wartime deployments can be brutal, but coming home can sometimes be more destructive than combat itself.
For more than a decade, suicide rates among veterans has surpassed that of non-veterans. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have given rise to a new generation of service members returning with PTSD, sexual assault trauma and mental and physical scars related to military – especially combat – service. Millions of these Americans join those of past wars who carry the same burden, and many of them have taken their own lives when they can no longer endure.
According to a recent study by the Arizona State University’s Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety, Mohave County ranks the third highest in Arizona in veteran suicide rates (the highest being La Paz County). The latest U.S Census population estimate of Mohave County is 204,737 (including 25,312 veterans). There were 121 veteran suicides per 100,000 people from Jan. 2015 to June 2016. Pinal County had the lowest suicide rate at 51 per 100,000.
Of the total Arizona veteran suicides, 78 percent were from gunshot wounds. Suffocation (including hanging) was second with drug and alcohol overdoses, incision (cutting and stabbing) and blunt force trailing.
Men commit suicide more often (nearly 81 per 100,000) than women (25 per 100,000). Veterans outnumber non-veteran suicide rates 80 to 29 percent.
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