"Veteran Suicide: You'd Think We'd Have Figured It Out By Now"
Updated: Apr 29
Disclaimer: The following article uses sarcasm to raise awareness about a serious issue – veteran suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. Oh, veteran suicide – that pesky little problem that keeps popping up, like a recurring pimple on our nation's otherwise flawless face. It's a topic that we, as a society, have been consistently addressing with our tried-and-true strategy of occasionally acknowledging it, shaking our heads, and then moving on to the next trending news item. Because who really wants to think about the tragic loss of life when there's a new iPhone model or a celebrity meltdown to focus on? Here's a fun fact: adjusting to civilian life after serving in the military is a piece of cake! It's not like veterans face any unique challenges when trying to reintegrate into society, like finding a job, dealing with the stigma of mental health issues, or navigating the oh-so-simple world of VA benefits.
In reality, our heroes are left to fend for themselves after they hang up their uniforms, and we're doing an excellent job of ensuring they feel welcomed and supported. Just look at the unemployment rate for veterans – it's only slightly higher than the national average. And who needs a job when you've got a flag waving proudly on your porch, right? Numbers, Schmumbers So, there's this thing called "statistics." Apparently, they're supposed to show us how bad a problem is. Well, when it comes to veteran suicide, the numbers are just downright dull. I mean, who cares that approximately 20 veterans die by suicide every day in the United States? That's just a tiny percentage of the population, right? And sure, veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than non-veterans. But hey, at least we're doing something about it – like offering thoughts and prayers, and posting heartfelt messages on social media every Veterans Day. That should be enough to fix the problem, right? It's a Family Affair Another thing we tend to forget is that families of veterans are practically immune to the effects of their loved one's struggles. After all, it's not like watching a spouse, parent, or sibling suffer from the invisible wounds of war would have any impact on their mental health or well-being.
So, let's not worry about providing support and resources to military families. They can just keep on smiling and waving those little flags, while we focus on more important matters like the latest celebrity breakup. Prescription for Disaster As we all know, the best way to treat mental health issues is by throwing a bunch of prescription drugs at the problem. Why invest in evidence-based treatments or therapies when we can just give veterans a cocktail of pills that may or may not help, and might even have harmful side effects? And if those medications don't work, well, they can always try a different cocktail. It's not like there's any risk of addiction, overdose, or other potentially deadly consequences, right? A New Approach: Pretending Everything's Fine Now that we've established how great we are at addressing veteran suicide, let's consider a groundbreaking new strategy: pretending everything's fine. If we just keep our heads buried in the sand, maybe the problem will magically fix itself! Instead of working on concrete solutions, like expanding mental health care, reducing wait times at VA facilities, or investing in preventative measures, we can just keep doing what we're doing. After all, it's worked so well so far, hasn't it?
The Invisible Wounds Let's take a moment to talk about mental health. You know, that thing we all pretend doesn't matter until someone famous starts a hashtag about it. Veterans often return home with the scars of war that we can't see – things like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, and depression. But since we can't see these injuries, we should probably just ignore them and hope they go away on their own. After all, it's not like we have a responsibility to provide comprehensive mental health care and support for the brave men and women who risked their lives to protect our freedom. That would just be silly. Help? Who Needs Help? Sure, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a crisis hotline, and there are support groups and counseling services available. But why make it easy for veterans to access these resources? I mean, it's not like they fought for our country or anything. Let's make it as complicated and frustrating as possible for them to navigate the bureaucratic maze of red tape, so they give up before getting the help they need. That's the American way! Sarcasm Aside: It's Time to Take Action While this article employs sarcasm to shine a light on the issue of veteran suicide, the truth is that it's a devastating crisis that requires urgent and meaningful action. We must commit to supporting our veterans, providing access to quality mental health care, and addressing the root causes of this heartbreaking problem. All jokes and sarcasm aside, veteran suicide is a heartbreaking and serious issue that demands our attention and action. We owe it to our heroes to provide the support, care, and resources they need to overcome the invisible wounds of war. It's time to stop turning a blind eye and start taking meaningful steps to prevent veteran suicide. Let's honor the sacrifices our heroes have made by taking the issue of veteran suicide seriously, and working tirelessly to ensure that every veteran has the help and support they need to thrive in civilian life. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.
Image Provided by Adobe Stock (April 2023).