Many veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD. Help is available, and there’s certainly no shame in asking for it. If you’re struggling, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. Press 1 to talk to someone immediately. You can also text 838255 or use their online chat feature. Sympathetic people care and are available to help 24/7. Veteran suicide is preventable with the right care, and we hope this resource proves helpful.
How Many Veterans Commit Suicide?
Sadly, veteran suicides average 22 each day, according to Mission 22’s site. The real number of veteran suicides is likely higher. Because of the high number of unknown veterans that are homeless, veteran suicide rates are potentially skewed to be lower than they actually are. There’s one thing we do know: veterans commit suicide at a much higher rate than everyone else in this country. This can be attributed to the PTSD from what they experienced during their service. Returning to civilian life can trigger many symptoms of PTSD.
Suicide Rates Among Veterans Remain High
Suicide rates are highest in younger veterans straight out of the military–up to three times higher than active duty military personnel. Ten percent of our country’s population are veterans. However, one in five people who commit suicide is a veteran. Because of this shocking statistic, the federal government has come to realize veteran suicide is a major public health crisis. The VA has made crisis counseling for veterans a priority in recent years. Luckily, that means many more resources are available today than 10 years ago for our soldiers and veterans in need.
Free Resources for Veteran Suicide Prevention
It may seem difficult to reach out for help since service members are typically taught to operate self-sufficiently. If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD or any other mental health issues, you are not alone. The following organizations extend private counseling and offer actionable steps to ensure every veteran gets the help they need and so deserve:
The name Mission 22 honors the 22 military veterans who take their lives each day. The people who started this cause understand PTSD. Some of the founders have traumatic brain injury (TBI) as well. Mission 22 offers practical support to veterans and their families. It also helps communities and other veteran organizations provide resources to veterans with mental health issues. If you’d like to donate your time, you can easily sign up to become a party of their Volunteer Army on their website, Mission22.com.
Veteran’s Crisis Line
The Veteran’s Crisis Line is a service offered by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Their website lists suicide warning signs, a self-check quiz, and other resources. It also offers information for concerned family members.
More than two million veterans in crisis have called the toll-free number provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs since 2007. Volunteers are available to offer immediate help to suicidal veterans. The VA added chat and text options in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Veterans have used these two services more than 300,000 times, since their inception. This website also lists many resources for veterans in crisis. Additional resources are available for active duty military personnel.
Stop Soldier Suicide
This organization is run by volunteer veterans who understand the military mindset and challenges of adjusting to a normal civilian life. Stop Soldier Suicide connects veterans to resources for issues such as finding a job, healthcare needs, housing, mental health, and more.