Suicide in the Veteran community. It has become the new norm, so much so that when we hear of a veteran who has committed suicide we don't react. How deflating is it to know that American heroes that have fought wars come home and end their own lives? This suicide epidemic is deflating, demoralizing, devastating to our country. Suicide in the veteran community has turned an iconic story we have all heard of. The wolf (in this case, suicide), is crying out for the boy (in this case, veterans).
Suicide in the veteran community is in the public eye and it isn't going anywhere soon. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, over 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year. The issue is the wolf, but instead of eating the boy the wolf carries the boy back to town where it knows it will be taken care of.
What's at the bottom of this crisis? Is it PTSD, Opioid abuse, alcoholism, undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries? When the boy was crying wolf nobody believed him. Even though the signs were obvious: years of combat, families being constantly broken apart from deployments, years of alcohol abuse from self medication. When the boy cried wolf no one came. The people were tired of the boy and let him drink and drug himself to sleep every night. One day the wolf found the boy and howled at the moon like never before. Other wolves join, and the local townspeople find the boy. The wolves have been crying out for the boy.
These suicides in the veteran community didn't happen overnight. How did we miss the signs? Did we see them and just ignore them? This year it will be 19 years of war. Suicide in the veteran community should have never gotten this bad. Now it's up to the people to fix the problem. Together, we can turn the tide on suicide.