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Wednesday, November 14

Support the Troops?

It's just a bumper sticker on gas guzzlers across America.

The suicide epidemic among veterans breaks my heart. That's not even considering pain of knowing about the thousands of homeless veterans or mentally ill veterans. From what I've read, emotionally afflicted veterans of wars like Vietnam took longer to break down and fall apart. The war on Iraq is taking a devastating toll on many veterans soon after they come home. I'd hate to see the numbers in a few years from now. If I had the money, I'd buy ads on television urging parents and family members to do anything to keep their loved ones from enlisting during this time of war. Shoot pictures, not families.

From CBS News Report on Veteran's Suicide
CBS News did an investigation - asking all 50 states for their suicide data, based on death records, for veterans and non-veterans, dating back to 1995. Forty-five states sent what turned out to be a mountain of information.

And what it revealed was stunning.

In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That’s 120 each and every week, in just one year.

Dr. Steve Rathbun is the acting head of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the University of Georgia. CBS News asked him to run a detailed analysis of the raw numbers that we obtained from state authorities for 2004 and 2005.

It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)

One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age. (The suicide rate for non-veterans is 8.3 per 100,000, while the rate for veterans was found to be between 22.9 and 31.9 per 100,000.)

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