The Pain Behind the Patriots: The Modern Struggle Against Veteran Suicide
Veteran mental health problems take a massive toll on those who serve. Intrusive memories, nightmares, and emotional numbing haunt many of our Nation’s Veterans and wreak havoc on their well-being. Relationships with loved ones, sleep schedules, and more can suffer as a result.
Many of the common triggers of Veteran trauma, including physical injuries, the loss of comrades, and combat exposure, are frequent occurrences for those who sacrifice so much for our country. Too often, Veterans see death as a way out.
The Truth About Veteran Suicide
A 2022 report found that roughly 17 U.S. Veterans died by suicide in 2020… per day. That’s 6,146 lives lost over the full year. The Veteran suicide rate? 57.3% greater than for non-Veteran U.S. adults. And this was considered a year of improvement compared to the late 2010s.
The mental health needs of those who served are often forgotten. As we enter National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, more awareness about these unseen wounds, and the resources available to help mitigate them, is necessary.
The Stigma Surrounding Veteran Mental Health
The stigma surrounding Veteran mental health problems, particularly among males, makes it difficult for many of those who serve to seek help. This perpetuates a cycle of silence that continues even after Veterans transition back to civilian life.
Society’s image of Veterans often fails to align with the realities they face. Those who’ve served are celebrated as heroes and symbols of patriotism. This idealized image leads to misconceptions. Veterans are often seen as defined solely by their military service, overlooking the full range of their identities and experiences. There is a tendency to perceive Veterans as invincible, neglecting their frequent mental health challenges. Those who’ve served can feel pressured into living up to the expectation of being unphased luminaries.
Normalizing Veteran mental health treatment, encouraging Veterans to seek help, and breaking down these unrealistic Veteran stereotypes can make a significant impact on the well being of our Veterans.
Solutions for a Better Future
At Nation’s Finest, we understand the urgent need to address the complex issue of Veteran suicide. Our most focused effort in this area is the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program. Through the SSG Fox program, we provide specialized support to at-risk Veterans and their families, aiming to prevent Veteran suicide through outreach, dedicated prevention services, and connection to local resources.
Beyond the SSG Fox Program, our commitment to enhancing Veteran lives encompasses a range of services that indirectly contribute to suicide prevention by improving overall quality of life and wellbeing:
Housing Solutions to support low-income Veterans in crisis and to address the issue of homelessness
Mental health services, including individual and group therapy sessions at our clinical model residential facilities
Employment Assistance to support Veterans in their job/career search
Other personalized supportive services designed to meet the individual needs of each Veteran
If you or a Veteran you know needs support, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Find a Nation’s Finest location near you or call 1-833-468-9676. Veterans in crisis should call the VA Crisis Line (988), a valuable resource available to Veterans, their families, and concerned individuals that offers support and guidance during challenging times.
The Time for Action is Now
Let us rally around our Veterans, breaking the silence and dismantling the stigmas that bind them. Our duty extends beyond gratitude and celebration—it is a responsibility to ensure that no Veteran is left behind. Donate to Nation’s Finest today to ensure that Veterans have the tools they need to reach their full potential.