drug addiction

If you are thinking of harming yourself, please call the suicide hotline now. 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

If you are a Veteran you may also call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1.

There is help and there is hope. Suicide cannot be 'undone' so please think about those people who love you before you take this action.

Suicide is a special problem for Veterans, particularly those returning from active combat duty. Experts on prevention say for veterans there are some particular signs to watch for. Many of these signs will apply to anyone thinking of suicide.

  • Talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
  • Trying to get pills, guns, or other ways to harm oneself.
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge.
  • Acting in a reckless or risky way.
  • Feeling trapped, like there's no way out.
  • Saying or feeling there's no reason for living.
  • Calling old friends, particularly military friends, to say goodbye.
  • Cleaning a weapon that they may have as a souvenir.
  • Visits to graveyards.
  • Obsessed with news coverage of the war, the military channel.
  • Talking about how honorable it is to be a soldier.
  • Sleeping more (decision to commit suicide brings peace of mind.)
  • Standing guard of the house, or staying up to "watch over" the house.
  • Obsessively locking doors, windows.
  • Hording alcohol -- not necessarily hard alcohol, could be wine.
  • Defensive speech "you wouldn't understand," etc.
  • Stop making eye contact or speaking with others.
  • Becoming overprotective of children.
  • If they are on medication, stopping medication and/or hording medication.
  • Spending spree, buying gifts for family or friends "to remember by"
  • .

Suicide and Veterans - The Facts

Does anyone want to guess at the number of Veterans who are committing suicide in the US? I wanted to check it out and the average number is 18 - but that is not 18 a month - or even 18 a week - but 18 a DAY! That's right, every day 18 of our brave men and women who put on a uniform and went to fight somewhere, at some time, for our country, are saying "Enough is enough. No one cares a damn about me so I am leaving".

These figures have risen steadily over the past few years. There was an attempt by the VA in the past to cover up the numbers of suicides but this was brought to light by veterans groups in 2008. Although the VA appears to be taking the number of suicides more seriously, with the huge numbers of service personnel returning from multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, much more will need to be done.

This issue has been brought home to me in a personal way. One of my house-mates is a disabled Veteran. Even though she was not disabled through going to Iraq or Afghanistan, she is still considered as having a 100% service related disability. For the past 18 months I have struggled with various departments of the VA to get her the help that she needs. As of this writing, she is in severe pain after trauma to her neck and spine. Five days in the VA Medical Center did nothing to alleviate the pain problem and here, 10 days after her discharge, still no pain medication and no follow up with her local physician. She is beginning to lose hope and I am not at all surprised. I am also fast losing hope of being able to get help for her. I have no weapons for her pain. When the pain is severe, all I can do is hold her in my arms and tell her to Breathe... Breathe... Breathe...

It is not enough but it is all I can do.

I know that she is only one of thousands of hurting Veterans. In a way, her situation is better than some. She has me and another house-mate to keep an eye on her. Many Vets live alone. Some Vets are on the streets. Some are drug addicts or alcoholics. I know and understand why.

What is my hope for this? I hope that I can raise some awareness for the state our Veterans are in. I hope I can get people to ask questions in their local area - where are our Vets? Who is taking care of them? How well are they cared for? What can I do?

If even a few people stepped forward, maybe we could save a life. Even saving one life is worthwhile. Is it too much to expect that we could stop 18 Vets a day from ending theirs? The saddest part of this is that these Vets survived their time overseas, only to die on American soil.

What a national tragedy.

Suicide.org - Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support!

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This page updated 2013