Today is Veterans Day in the U.S., a day to give thanks and honor all who serve our country in the military. While the military has made some strides in recent years in acknowledging the mental health problems of both veterans and active military personnel, it remains an area where prejudice and misconceptions run rampant.
A soldier wouldn’t jump out of a plane without checking their parachute to make sure it was secured and in working order. Yet they are jumping out of active duty into a system that isn’t prepared for their needs, and remains underfunded and under-resourced.
For instance, last week we discussed these continuing challenges with mental health services and the rate of suicide in the military today, among vets and active duty soldiers.
Each year in the U.S. approximately 35,000 – 37,000 people die by suicide. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., ahead of things like hypertension, homicide and Parkinson’s disease (all things that get a lot more news and research attention than suicide).
About 100 people kill themselves each day. Nearly 20 percent of those who take their lives is a veteran — or about 18 vets a day. Let that sink in for a moment, because it’s a big number.