Veteran Suicide Essay

965 words - 4 pages

The transition to civilian life has left many young veterans desperate as suicide rates among veterans are much higher than that of the civilian population. In fact according to (Basu, 2013), “the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 of the population, compared with the civilian rate of 14 per 100,000. The analysis of records from 48 states found that the suicide rate for veterans increased an average of 2.6% a year from 2005 to 2011 -- more than double the rate of increase for civilian suicide.” As these brave men and women have given so much to protect this country it is important to look at why suicide rates among veterans are so high and propose a possible ...view middle of the document...

As our returning veterans exit military service they find that obtaining adequate employment is extremely difficult and employers are not valuing the skills they obtained in the military. It has proven so difficult that according to an article by (Patterson, 2013), the unemployment rate for veterans who served after 9/11 is over ten percent compared to seven percent for the rest of the nation. This feeling of inadequacy has driven many returning veterans to drugs and alcohol and has over 900,000 veterans on food stamps (Patterson, 2013). While these problems are large there are policies that can be put into place to help these veterans make a smoother transition into civilian life which will lower veteran suicide rates.
The first step in lowering veteran suicide rates is to step up the outreach effort by hiring and training social workers to be familiar with PTSD. To do this the department of veteran affairs will have to increase the total amount of social workers by twenty percent. These social workers will be able to recognize soldiers suffering from PTSD or substance abuse and direct the patient to an appropriate service. The VA is also going to double the amount of peer support specialists (former combat veterans) at every VA. This will be helpful as soldiers will be able to talk to employees (peer support specialists) who understand their struggles on a personal level. Currently there are not enough peer support specialists employed by the VA to have a significant impact on suicide numbers even though this program appears to be very successful. According to a study completed by (Mazza, 2012), “…Veterans reported that Peer Support Services provided at Mountain Home were among some of the best of all the services offered”. The peer support specialist program will be monitored by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to ensure the program is running efficiently and is cost effective. ...

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