Via VA Watchdog:
The five-month CBS News probe, based upon a detailed analysis of data obtained from death records from 2004 and 2005, found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 as non-vets.
A recent Veteran Affairs Department estimate says some 5,000 ex-servicemen and women will commit suicide this year, largely as a result of mental health issues, and Keteyian says, "Our numbers are much higher than that, overall."
He says the numbers in the CBS News study shocked everyone from Sen. Patty Murray (D, Wash.) to veterans' rights advocate Paul Sullivan.
Murray told Keteyian, "That's a lot of young men and women who've gone to fight for us, and come home and found themselves that lost."
Said Sullivan, "This is pulling the fire alarm to say our veterans need help now."
Via Veterans For Common Sense, some things you can do if you are concerned about someone, particularly veterans, mental health to the point where you think they may be suicidal:
For information about suicide prevention assistance, please see second article below. Hotline for Veterans: Veterans who need help immediate counseling should call the hotline run by Veterans Affairs professionals at 1-800-273-TALK and press 1 identifying themselves as military veterans. Staff members are specially trained to take calls from military veterans and its staffed 24 hours a day, everyday. While all operators are trained to help veterans, some are also former military. For a wallet-size card titled "What to do you if you think someone is having suicidal thoughts," please click here.(PDF)
"In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That’s 120 each and every week, in just one year."
How to Spot Warning Signs
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides the following warning signs.
* Talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
* Trying to get pills, guns, or other ways to harm oneself
* Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
* Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
* Acting in a reckless or risky way
* Feeling trapped, like there's no way out
* Saying or feeling there's no reason for living
* For more on mental health services at the Dept of Veterans Affairs, click here or call the VA's suicide hotline at 800.273.TALK (8255).
Suicide Signs Unique to Veterans
Experts on suicide prevention say for veterans there are some particular signs to watch for.
* Calling old friends, particularly military friends, to say goodbye
* Cleaning a weapon that they may have as a souvenir
* Visits to graveyards
* Obsessed with news coverage of the war, the military channel
* Wearing their uniform or part of their uniform, boots, etc
* Talking about how honorable it is to be a soldier
* Sleeping more (sometimes the decision to commit suicide brings a sense of peace of mind, and they sleep more to withdraw)
* Becoming overprotective of children
* Standing guard of the house, perhaps while everyone is asleep staying up to "watch over" the house, obsessively locking doors, windows
* If they are on medication, stopping medication and/or hording medication
* Hording alcohol -- not necessarily hard alcohol, could be wine
* Spending spree, buying gifts for family members and friends "to remember by"
* Defensive speech "you wouldn't understand," etc.
* Stop making eye contact or speaking with others