The problem of suicide among veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has recently been in the news, with the Department of Veteran Affairs promising to beef up its mental health services in response. Veterans of previous conflicts continue to have problems as well, and the VA has estimated that a total of 5000 suicides among veterans can be expected this year.
However, CBS News has now completed a five-month study of death records for 2004-05 which shows that the actual figures are “much higher” than those reported by the VA. Across the total US veteran population of 25 million, CBS found that suicide rates were more than twice as high as for non-veterans (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide accounted for 32,439 deaths in 2004).
CBS spoke to the families of several veterans who killed themselves after returning from Iraq. “The war didn’t end for him when he came home,” said the mother of one soldier. “I think he was being tormented and tortured by his experiences.”
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) told CBS, “That’s a lot of young men and women who’ve gone to fight for us who’ve come home and found themselves that lost.”
CBS News has more HERE.
The following video is from CBS’s Early Show, broadcast on November 13, 2007.