Did you know that for every soldier killed in war this year, 25 will commit suicide?
How is this travesty possible?
Like those suffered in the civilian world, traumatic brain injuries as a result of war are silent killers. You can look pretty normal; and yet you may have lost intellect, cognitive skills, anger management, and the ability to care for yourself. In the face of a dismal diagnosis and little assistance who wouldn't take a way out?
Lawyers and generals need to read the poignant and searing account of one war veteran who speaks for so many who are losing their minds in "War Wounds" as reported by Nicholas Kristof for the NYTimes. Excerpt.
"Military suicides are the starkest gauge of our nation’s failure to care adequately for those who served in uniform. With America’s wars winding down, the United States is now losing more soldiers to suicide than to the enemy. Include veterans, and the tragedy is even more sweeping. For every soldier killed in war this year, about 25 veterans now take their own lives.
President Obama said recently that it was an “outrage” that some service members and veterans sought help but couldn’t get it: “We’ve got to do better. This has to be all hands on deck.” Admirable words, but so far they’ve neither made much impact nor offered consolation to those who call the suicide prevention hot line and end up on hold.
The military’s problems with mental health services go far beyond suicide or the occasional murders committed by soldiers and veterans. Far more common are people like Richards, who does not contemplate violence of any kind but is still profoundly disabled.
An astonishing 45 percent of those who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries, in many cases psychological ones. It’s unclear how many are exaggerated or even fraudulent, but what is clear is this: the financial cost of these disabilities will be huge, yet it is dwarfed by the human cost."