PTSD and Suicide Rates – An Iraqi War Legacy

The chances that an Iraq war veteran who has served two or more tours now has post-traumatic stress disorder: 1 in 4. According to recent reports show suicides in the U.S. Army in 2006: 102. Numbers are higher than ever.

Leaders of the military have leaned so heavily on the Guard and Reserves , many individuals have done several tours away from home – often removing them from their families and careers for 18 months at a time.

In November, President  Bush signed the Suicide Prevention Act that directed the Veterans Administration to improve the mental health training of its staff and to increase the levels of screening and treatment of illnesses like PTSD, Anger Management, and Depression. The first suicide hotlin was created last year. One in five veterans have visited a Veterans Administration facility but getting suicidal veterans to utilize the line is difficult.

The government’s study notably does not include suicide that occurs in war zones or or among troops who remain in the military after returning home. Those numbers are also rising. What options do active duty men and women have when faced with suicidal thoughts?

Stressed relationships and access to loaded firearms are two of the largest factors in suicides. The men and women returning from this war are exhausted and need our support now more than ever. According to Operation Mililtary Family: How to Strengthen Your Marriage and Save Your Family, we need tools, mentorship, and options that are viable and available for these people who have sacrificed so much for us.

Call your congressional representative and ask what they are doing today to help.

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