General Question

flutherother's avatar

Why are so many war veterans committing suicide?

Asked by flutherother (27319points) April 28th, 2012

From the article “The VA estimated that in 2009, 6000 veterans committed suicide. It has also said that on average 950 suicides are attempted each month by veterans who are receiving some type of VA treatment. That’s an average 31 veterans attempting suicide per day. These tragic numbers only represent the limited segment of veterans who interact with the VA.


This is an epidemic. Why is this happening?

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10 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

There are quite a few reasons.
– Transitional trouble between military and civilian life in general
– Boredom, which can lead to depression. After experiencing something as adrenalin riddled as a combat environment (especially if you’ve done so quite a bit), your nerves can tend to be dulled down (perhaps as a survival mechanism). Normal civilian life is very very dull in comparison.
– They can become institutionalized. For many years they wore told what to wear, how to wear it, how to have their haircut done, how to shave, how to act, what to say and when to say it. Being thrust back into an environment where this doesn’t happen can be like putting a robot designed to build toys into a shoe-making factory.
– Relationship problems due to any of the above or something else.

There’s no short answer except to say that veterans (especially those who fought in extreme combat situations) were pushed to the limits, stretched thin mentally and physically. It’s a strain and a burden that many people will never know.

janbb's avatar

Also, many more who would have died from severe injuries are now being saved but may be living with serious disabilities and depression.

Trillian's avatar

Our people are not getting the post-duty care they need. They are dismissed from service and classified as “ineligible” for care. Yep. Well done, US military.

Sunny2's avatar

They see no possibility of anything ever changing. Having experienced the horrors and hostility of war and seeing no change in sight, they may decide that’s enough. The hypocrisy of it all spells hopelessness.The pain is too much to bear. They can’t be part of it anymore.

Linda_Owl's avatar

The young people who enlist in the military are looking for something / somewhere to “belong” & the recruiters are adept at painting a picture of ‘doing one’s duty to the country’ & of painting the military as defending the ‘freedom’ of America. Then, after they have joined the military & they are deployed to one of the war zones, they come face to face with the fact that they have been lied to. The brutality of war is terrible & it is made even more terrible by the fact that our military cannot tell non-combatants from the ‘enemy’ that they are supposed to be fighting. They are sent repeatedly back into combat until they become conditioned to kill without thinking very deeply about it. We have been at war with countries in the mid-east since 9/11. Leadership is breaking down, discipline is breaking down, & the morale of our soldiers is breaking down. Frequently these soldiers come home wounded. Some of the wounds show, like missing limbs, & burned off faces, but some of the wounds do not show, as in traumatic brain injury, & severe debilitating depression. When they get home, they are welcomed enthusiastically, but this enthusiasm does not help them find a job. So they join the ever growing ranks of the unemployed. Depression frequently leads to alcoholism & drug abuse….. and when despair reaches its peak, suicide can seem like the only answer. The Veteran’s Administration is not doing nearly enough for the soldiers who are fortunate enough to live thru these multiple deployments.

Coloma's avatar

I’d agree with all of the above and doesn’t this make it OBVIOUS that humanity needs to make the shift into a more evolved state of unity and consciousness?
Sad but not surprising, unless one is a sociopath the effects of extreme violence and participating in murder are not wounds easily healed.
The “problem” is people and peoples solution to solving the problems of humanity are to kill each other.

No people, no problem. This mindset needs to shift, but I am doubtful as mankind teeters on the brink of self and planetary destruction that we’re going to get there.
We are in our 11th hour as is the planet, and it’s going to take something really BIG, to shift our history and move into a state of unified global consciousness.

PhiNotPi's avatar

One of the major problems is the transition from military life to civilian life. When someone is in the military, they are told exactly what they need to do and how to do it, while food and shelter and payment are provided for them. When they come leave the military, there is no transition period. They need to find a house to live in, have to find a job, have to buy food and supplies, and there is nobody telling them what to do or how to do it.

This problem is what causes a large number of veterans to become homeless, and homelessness is known to have higher suicide rates.

CoreyR's avatar

I was an Airborne Infantryman (11C2P) in the Army for 8 years. I did not deploy to the first Gulf War as I was in Alaska at the time and later transfered to Germany. While there, my son was born and died while under Army medical care. In the Civilian world, the lack of care would have been called “malpractice” and the ensuing coverup called “criminal.” Then the Army unlawfully detained my wife, for over three months, insisting that the German prosecuters were going to press charges against her, if I did not stop asking questions, that is. They also tried desperately to find my remaining daughter. I finally was able to remove my wife and daughter, with the help of the US State Department and several Congressmen, back stateside. After this, I was “given the opportunity” to leave the Army. 8 years flushed away. My wife killed herself a year later. I stayed to raise our daughter.
I went to college and now, due to an Army injury, cannot get a decent job and cannot pay off my student loans which are going into collections.
I live a hopeless life and have for the past 20 years. There is no future, no present and the past is misery. All I had to hold onto was my daughter. She joined the Coast Guard last fall and was sexually assaulted by a shipmate a few months ago. The CG is trying to cover this up and run her out of the service. Now her life is destroyed and I have creditors hounding me for student loan money which I cannot earn. Serving this country was the worst mistake of my life.
Now, everymorning, before going into a nothing job, where I am hated, I pray to a god in whom I no longer beleive, for the strenght to just end it all. One day….

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