Our troops are still not getting the help they need when they come home from combat overseas. And here is the evidence.
Despite all the counseling and special programs created to help soldiers, suicides in the U.S. military last year hit an all-time high, taking more soldiers’ lives than combat, according to The Washington Post. And the long-term impact of concussions and traumatic brain injury is part of this problem.
There were 349 active-duty suicides last year, compared to 229 troops who died in Afghanistan, The Post reported. The Pentagon is well aware of the military’s soaring suicide rate, a byproduct of the strain, depression, pressure and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that veterans develop when they get back from overseas.
The military has started several programs, including a creating a crisis hotline, to assist veterans who come back from the war and have trouble returning to military or civilian life.
According to The Post, it appeared that military suicides had peaked in 2009, at 310, but then the number jumped up last year.
TBI had been called the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I’m sure these invisible wounds are a factor in the rise in suicides. Soldiers back in the states may not realize it, but the concussions they suffered out in the field can cause depression, memory loss and mood changes. Those are all factors that could lead someone to take their own life.