US in last two decades has been severely involved in wars Asian and middle eastern wars wherein numerous US army personals were deployed. Though US wars were justified political actions of the then leaders, it seems to have affected the lives of the US army personals involved in the wars in various ways.
As per a recent data released by US Department of Veterans Affairs, a significant increase in suicide rates among young military veterans has been observed. The statistical study by US Department of Veterans Affairs makes it evident that military veterans within the age group of 18 to 34 had comparatively high rate of suicide rate than other remaining age groups.
The hike the suicide rate of military veterans were realized in 2016, data of the year indicated a hike of 45 suicide deaths per 100,000 population which rose from from 40.4 in 2015. The rate of death though showcased a slight decline in the rate a noteworthy observation while investigating the profile of these veterans indicated that they were majorly ones who served in Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
If we analyse data of previous years it boils down to the conclusion that More than 6,000 veterans have killed themselves each year since 2008. Where veterans suicide rate increased considerable by 25.9% between 2005-2016 there has also been a considerable increase in overall suicide rate in US population.
Analysis suggests that though suicide rate of veterans declined between 2015-2016 30.5 per 100,000 population to 30.1 there has been a consistent increment in the number of young veteran suicide rate. The suicide rate of young veterans were found 1.5 times greater for veterans than for adults who never served in the military subject to age and gender adjustment. The female veterans suicide rate was 1.8 times greater than the rate for non-veteran women.
Joe Chenelly, the executive director of the national veterans group Amvets stated that “This isn’t just alarming. It’s a national emergency that requires immediate action.”
As explained by Chenelly ““The new data tells us that too many younger veterans – specifically those of the post-9/11 era – were slipping through the cracks despite all the efforts to address mental healthcare access and barriers to seamless transition after service,”
US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) too has stated in its published report that “To prevent veteran suicide, we must help reduce veterans’ risk for suicide before they reach a crisis point and support those veterans who are in crisis. This requires the expansion of treatment and prevention services and a continued focus on innovative crisis intervention services.”
Further observations suggested that Young veterans closing to 35 were the only age group whose suicide rate increased from 2015 to 2016. Also they were more likely to use gun. For instance, In 2016, 70% of veteran suicides were by firearm, compared with 48% of non-veterans.
The rising number of young veterans choosing suicide as an escape is certainly a worrisome phenomenon. Medical and psychological help is been extended by Amvets and other organization however the courage to move towards help is something that has been a trend observed.