Friday, April 4, 2014

Suicide is not Painless

The story from Ft. Hood is sad on so many levels; for the families of those killed or injured, those who witnessed the shootings, those soldiers who are thinking “there but for the grace of God…” and more.

I’ve really only listened to one media report in the days following the shootings and it seemed like all they were looking for was a villain, someone to blame.

It has been said the shooter was being treated for PTSD and struggling with depression. He was angry about being denied a leave request. I’m sure more will turn up.

I recall reading in “Thank You For Your Service” about high-level meetings with military brass on how to reduce the suicide levels of those returning from combat.

In 2013 the suicide rate for veterans exceeded the number killed in combat. It has been called an epidemic.

This ( from the Huffington Post is a good summary of what is being done, the scope of the problem etc.

I did not start out for this to be about suicide. But based on what I’ve read, I am not surprised that the soldier ended up killing himself after his shooting rampage. A 2012 VA study showed that more than 20 veterans commit suicide every day! But those sad stories don’t make the front page or CNN; and we probably don’t want them to.

Is every veteran a ticking time bomb? Of course not. I hope the VA will re-double its efforts to remove the stigma of asking for help. It seems like they are trying but the problem is growing faster than they can do screenings, add hotlines, therapists and such.

I can’t offer any suggestions or solutions. Maybe a prayer or two is all I’ve got. I’ve been praying for a young man in Afghanistan for more than a year. Hopefully he is home safe by now and will find a way to adjust to this life we call normal. Maybe I just need to keep praying.

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