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Mon

15

Jun

2009

Suicide: a painful national and local community issue - Veterans are hit hardest
Monday, 15 June 2009 05:13
by Peter Stern

The media tells us little regarding suicide unless it occurs to a famous individual.

The truth is that suicides occur all too frequently within our society. There has been an increase of teenage suicides and among our elderly population, but the most dramatic increase in suicide has occurred with our returning Veteran population — but we don't hear about it on the news.

The media was all too quick to jump on the recent possible suicide of actor David Carradine when he was found hung in a Thailand hotel. Too quick because authorities now believe it looks like the actor may have been murdered. Unfortunately, no one is notified that many of our Veterans are having problems reentering our society after serving our nation.

Why aren’t the media writing about the increasing high rate of suicide by our returning Veterans? The suicide rate is the highest among that population than ever before. It’s time we recognize the problem and do something about it.

The increase of suicide by our Veteran population is not just a problem for the federal government, it is a local problem as well and state lawmakers should be doing everything possible to provide needed services, including counseling to help our returning veterans in readjusting to civilian life. As a Disabled Veteran myself, I can tell you that it is not an easy task to acclimate back into our culture after being in a war zone for long periods far away from civilization and loved ones. It is a heck of a return journey.

Reentry is especially difficult during these hard economic times, where Veterans especially have a tough time finding employment. Outsourcing, layoffs and immigrant cheaper labor have taken a toll on available, well-paying jobs for Americans. It is no secret that Americans need jobs and it should not take this long to generate jobs for those who need and want them.

Perhaps the dismal job market is hardest for our returning Veterans because in addition to readjusting to civilian life, there are fewer jobs available for them.

Isn't it time we provide our Veterans with the services they need and improve job availability, along with a viable means to follow-up on their reentry into American communities? Suicide is a painful alternative and it hurts everyone in our community.
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