Tuesday, November 13, 2007

War Veterans' Suicide Rate "Stunning"

I have previously posted on the fact that Chimperator Bush's regime has alarmingly failed to properly look out for the needs of returning Iraq War veterans, including in the area of mental health care. Disingenuously saying that one supports the troops - as does the Chimperator constantly - while in fact doing nothing is despicable. As the following story suggests, it appears that the Department of Veteran's Affairs may be understating the true size of the problem, apparently on purpose (Bush bureaucrats lie? What a surprise!). This CBS story (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/13/earlyshow/main3494261.shtml) indicates just how serious the problem actually is in fact:

(CBS) Some of America's 25 million veterans face their biggest fight when they return home from the battlefield -- when they take on mental illness. And, a CBS News analysis reveals they lose that battle, and take their own lives, at a clip described by various experts as "stunning" and "alarming," according to Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian. One called it a "hidden epidemic." He says no one had ever counted just how many suicides there are nationwide among those who had served in the military -- until now. The five-month CBS News probe, based upon a detailed analysis of data obtained from death records from 2004 and 2005, found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 as non-vets.

A recent Veteran Affairs Department estimate says some 5,000 ex-servicemen and women will commit suicide this year, largely as a result of mental health issues, and Keteyian says, "Our numbers are much higher than that, overall." He says the numbers in the CBS News study shocked everyone from Sen. Patty Murray (D, Wash.) to veterans' rights advocate Paul Sullivan.

Staff Sgt. Justin Reyes spent a violent year serving in Iraq. "The war didn't end foe him when he came home," says his mother, Jean Willis. "I think he was being tormented and tortured by his experiences." Medical records show Reyes suffered severe psychological trauma after witnessing "multiple dead" and having to "sort through badly mutilated bodies," Keteyian reports. Earlier this year, a month after separating from the Army, Reyes hanged himself with a cord in his apartment. He was 26.

No comments: