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High Suicide Rate Among Veterans Sparks Council Probe

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WNYC
veterans, boots, flag (flickr: Kyle Crawford)

One out of every five suicides in the country is committed by a military veteran, federal statistics show, and some city lawmakers are hoping to mitigate what they say is a growing but preventable health problem.

At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, the City Council will look into how it can connect support services to veterans.

There have been 1,800 suicide attempts among returning veterans in the city since 2009 and that between 30 and 40 percent of returning veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Bronx Councilmember Oliver Koppell, who chairs the Council’s committee on mental health.

“The suicide trend is up in the last couple of years, as the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts extend on and on,” said Glen Witt, program director with the New York-based group Veterans Across America, which runs a mentoring and networking program for veterans.

He said the current down economy can aggravate the already difficult re-adjustment for vets. In areas of the country where the economy is more stable, he said, suicide attempts are much lower when compared to regions with high unemployment.

Witt said the key to suicide prevention among veterans rests with a strong support system of mental health services, recognizing warning signs and raising awareness that veterans are not alone in their fight.

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Comments [2]

John from Portland Oregon from Portland, Oregon

James, you and all the other vets like you that the VA, Army or DOD say you have anxiety or personality disorders don't let them beat you. They use this so you will quit and not get the disability you deserve. I know this I am a Vietnam Vet and it took me a long time to get my disability. Always remember that you are worth a great deal. We went to war and survived. You need to keep trying and hold on until you can get what you deserve. I work for a group called the Military Helpline 888-457-4838 If you need some resources for something or just someone to talk to give us a call.

Nov. 09 2011 03:41 AM
james rader from salem oregon

i am a veteran from both iraq and afghansitan i was medically discharged from the army june of 08 at the last hour they cahnged my diagnosis from ptsd to anxiaty disorder whichhas no rating and i lost my retirement.. i went through several years of hell fighting to get my case to the dod appeals board that congress made them set up they still refuse to acnolage my ptsd even tho i was hospitalized several times for it the dod said yes i should get the retirement but the ARMY said WE REFUSE TO FOLLOW MAJORITY OPINION again i lost my retirement i can not work and have no reason to live except to prove they ( the army) cant make me do that which is what they want..... I am worthless i am nothing tossed away like garbageand they wonder why so many kill themselves
DUH

Oct. 20 2011 08:53 PM

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