Monday, May 31, 2010

Something to think about this Memorial Day

I've read two articles today about the hugely distressing rate of suicides among both active military personnel and veterans. One is entitled "Memorial Day -- Remembering Military Suicides" and here's part of what it says:

How does it happen? After surviving harrowing combat, why would a young soldier decide to take his or her own life? The Army is spending $50 million to figure it out, and we may get an answer in a couple of years. But for some, that will be too late.
These soldiers who want to kill themselves are imprisoned by their experiences. Terrified by nightmares, they can't get out of the fog created by drugs and medications designed to alleviate their pain. Their intimate relationships fall apart, and they get into trouble with the law. Their lives spiral out of control right in front of them. They get talked to, and subjected to lots of lectures about responsible behavior.

Another is entitled 10 Things We Must Remember on Memorial Day and these statistics are offered:

Every day, five U.S. soldiers attempt suicide, a 500 percent increase since 2001.
Every day 18 U.S. veterans attempt suicide, more than four times the national average. Of the 30,000 suicides each year in the U.S., 20 percent are committed by veterans, though veterans make up only 7.6 percent of the population.
Female veteran suicide is rising at a rate higher than male veteran suicides.

These are terribly disturbing statistics. And we need to be disturbed.

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