Veteran Suicide is a serious issue that is plaguing the community. In the U.S. alone, it was the 10th leading cause of death in 2014 and according to a 2012 Department of Veteran Affairs report, 22 veterans are dying by suicide a day.
Some suggest that the study is inaccurate; however, the purpose of this text is to raise awareness, encourage action, and promote suicide prevention, not debate statistics.
Although feelings of helplessness are prevalent among those considering death by their own hand, WE, the community can help by recognizing risk factors, detect early warning signs, and take action.
Risk factors for suicide vary by age, sex, family history, mental health status, ethnic group and more. According the American
“Our effectiveness in preventing suicide ultimately depends on more fully understanding how and why suicide occurs.”
Veterans are at a high risk for suicide and the FACTS presented below may be able to aid your understanding as to how and why there are 22 or more veteran suicides a day:
Mental Disorders: Among all the various mental disorders, DEPRESSION, occurs in 90% of all suicide cases. 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) according to National Center For PTSD, and those who have PTSD are 3 to 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
- From 2005 – 2011 Military prescriptions for psychoactive drugs increased almost 700 percent
- The FDA recently updated their “Black Box Warning” to indicate that ALL anti-depressants can cause an increase of suicidal thoughts and behaviors otherwise known as “suicidality”.
- There are 50 international warnings that psychoactive drugs increases suicidal ideation according to a report by Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
Now that you know what may be causing suicide, here is a tool used to identify warning signs.
I.S. P.A.T.H. W.A.R.M
IS PATH WARM is tool used by the American Association of Suicidologists to help identify those that are at risk.
By using the information presented, you may be able to prevent someone from taking their own life. It is important to face this issue as a community and utilize tools such as “IS PATH WARM”. Whether you are a person who lost a loved to to suicide, attempted it yourself, or never had any experience, this information is important. As brilliantly stated by the American Association of Suicidology,
“Suicide prevention is EVERYONES business”
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1(800) 273-8255