An average of 20 United States military veterans and 1 person on active duty kill themselves every day.
In current wars, more service members will die from suicide than from combat.
Nearly a thousand former soldiers under the care of the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month.
Veterans are on average 21 percent more likely to die by suicide when compared to civilians.
Soldiers are less likely to seek help due to stigma and harassment by their command and peers.
Many active duty GIs do not receive adequate help from the Pentagon and VA system.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) does not require combat experience.
Many active duty GIs and veterans suffer from PTSD and/or major depression.
An average of 20 United States military veterans and 1 person on active duty kill themselves every day. Nearly a thousand former soldiers under the care of the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month. The crisis has grown so urgent that more veterans are killing themselves than are dying from combat during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Research shows that hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans currently suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many of these GIs do not receive adequate help from the Department of Defense (DoD) or Veterans Administration (VA) systems.
The Civilian Medical Resources Network (CMRN) began in March 2005, working to address the unmet medical and psychological needs of U.S. military personnel who contact the GI Rights Hotline (a national effort by 25 religious and peace organizations).
CMRN has grown from three participating professionals to over one hundred, located in all areas of the country. Volunteers receive a brief training in the support and documentation that the GIs require. Due to GIs’ limited financial resources and insurance coverage for civilian services, CMRN professionals provide care free of charge. When possible, GIs visit CMRN professionals in person; if an in-person visit proves unfeasible due to geographical distance, CMRN professionals assist GIs by telephone consultations. The volume of new clients that the CMRN serves has increased from approximately two per month initially to four per week currently. We are expanding our outreach to peace organizations, professional organizations, and especially GIs.
Voluntary contributions from supporters and several small grants have assisted in this outreach effort. Except for a part-time paid coordinator and people who do outreach to GIs, all people working with CMRN serve as volunteers. All paid staff members are veterans or family members of veterans.
Please see our recent article published in Military Medicine! We welcome your feedback.
Below you can listen to the song Soldier’s Heart by the late Jacob David George. Many veterans and active duty military service members have found Jacob’s style of storytelling and specifically his album Soldier’s Heart to provide refuge, space to heal, and camaraderie. More songs, history, poems, and ways to contribute to the fund that helps bring Jacob’s music and healing to veterans can be found by following the link to his memorial website. Jacob’s story provides inspiration to us in our work at the Civilian Medical Resources Network.
Used with Permission: www.jacobdavidgeorge.org