“22 A Day Is NOT O.K.”

Veterans know this number – Civilians do not.

We lose an average of 22 Veterans a day to suicide. This is NOT acceptable to us at Veterans Pardners. That is 158 Souls lost to us every week, which is equivalent to a military company. That’s 660 to 682 a month, the size of a battalion. In a year, we lose 7,832 – the number of Service Members in a Military Division. If we lost a company, a battalion, or a Division at one time, the news would be on every media station and in every newspaper in the United States. Yet, these Service Members slip away in relative silence.

Even these numbers are not truly accurate. These numbers include only documented Veteran suicide. If a Vet dies Homeless in the streets, the death is included in Homeless Statistics. If our Vet is self-medicating, drives drunk and dies on our highways, it is an automobile death. None of the other tragedies that befall our Veterans are included in this number. It is a rough approximation at best. The silent, screaming victims of their private wars are their grieving families.

War efforts end, but the war comes home with our combat veterans and never ends for them. They come home from a war zone and everything they see, smell, hear, taste, or touch reminds them of danger. They attempt to avoid anything that reminds them, yet their dreams are haunted by war memories.

The Veterans Health Administration does an excellent job – as far as it goes. The real problem is that not all Vets will go to the VA. If Vets do go to the VA for mental health care, they may do a stint in inpatient care. Then they usually see a therapist once a week or every other week. They often see a psychiatrist every other month for medication. There are not enough staff or days or beds to meet this need.