Carry the Load

Homeless in Cincinnati, Oh

Why Veterans Die by Suicide

Veterans need to come together

Social Health

To answer the question of why veterans die by suicide, we must first consider the reasons why anyone might be driven to consider this option. Than, we must consider how this knowledge applies to the unique experiences of veterans.

Suicide is a reaction to extreme psychological pain.

Suicide is not a “cowards way out,” nor is it the result of someone being “crazy”. In fact, those who have completed suicide are those who are least fearful since they were able to overcome the brain’s survival mechanism based in the amygdala. But what drives individuals to want to overcome their hard-wired desire for self-preservation?

In Suicide as Psychache, Edwin Shneidman argues that suicide is the result of an intense level of emotional pain that exceeds the individual’s threshold to endure it. Of course, we all experience emotional pain in our lives, but in the case of suicide this emotional pain…

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Who are the 22 veterans?

Social Health

In 2012, a VA report stated that an average of 22 veterans died by suicide in both 2009 and 2010. Recently, this number has become popularized in the 22 push-up challenge, bringing awareness to the issue of suicide among veterans. In the wake of this popular campaign, I want to bring attention to a question that has often been left out of the conversation: who are these veterans and why are they dying by suicide?

Take a few moments to study the table from the report. Can you spot what is happening?

Veteran suicides

Notice what happens in the 50-59 age group? Veteran suicide begins to outpace non-veteran suicide, with the gap steadily increasing with age. To answer the question of who these 22 veterans are, notice the main finding: “More than 69% of Veteran suicides are among those age 50 and older.”

In addition to this age demographic, other tables in the report…

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Help them so they can help Veterans!

I was recently introduced to the organizers of this initiative. They are passionate about helping those veterans needing healthcare. Take a look at what they are doing. We should all work together to get veterans the resources they need. I wish them much success and support what they are doing, as it is much needed. I look forward to meeting more people with a passion for helping veterans in need.

The Warrior Song