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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vets and Suicide: Even Worse Than We Thought

Over ten years ago, I started writing regular pieces at Editor & Publisher and elsewhere (and then in my book So Wrong for So Long) on the then-hidden but surging problem of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and vets of those wars, attempting suicide.  One of my first, then regular, sources was Paul Reickhoff, director of leading vet group IAVA.    Today his group came out with a survey that goes beyond the continuing rise in suicides.
Nearly one in three post-9/11 veterans – 30 percent – has considered suicide. Forty-five percent of those who served Iraq and Afghanistan know a veteran who has thought about taking his or her own life. And 37 percent know a veteran who has committed suicide.
Those grim statistics are among the results of a new survey released Wednesday conducted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA.) The study, which IAVA does annually, also found deep unhappiness at how lawmakers in Washington treats those who put their lives on the line in combat.