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Vets need help

To the Journal editor:

I just read and seen a very disturbing article which stated more U.S. veterans have committed suicide in the last decade than had died in Vietnam.

Researchers found suicide for veterans is 21% higher when compared to civilian adults from 2001-2014 statistics, (the civilian suicide rate rose about 23.3% compared to 32% among veterans suicides.) In the past 5 years since, the rate of active duty service members who took their own lives has been rising an average of 6% year-over-year.

Roughly, 65% of all veteran suicides in 2014 were for individuals aged 50 or older, many of whom spent little, or no fighting in the most recent wars – (in other words, Cold War-era veterans.)

Plus, this issue is worrisome amongst female veterans, who saw their suicide rates rise more than 85% over that time compared to 40% for civilian women.

And of these suicides, about 70% were not users of VA services. So if you know someone, or if you yourself, are feeling suicidal, please use the Veterans and Military Crisis Line which provides 24/7 confidential support, and it can be reached at 800-273-8255, by texting 838255, or online chat.

Again, if you’re feeling suicidal, due to financial pressure, or a relationship challenge, or for whatever reason, don’t be afraid to ask for help. (As a sidebar, I lost an uncle back in 1971 when I was a kid growing up there in the U.P. and I’ll live with the guilt and questioning could I have maybe seen a signal that he was going to kill himself,) but back then as a 14-year old what did I know about suicides, and nobody would dare ask for help, as this is perceived as a sign of weakness, we’ve got to change our thinking on this great taboo.

As some of you can see there are a couple things close to my heart, and they’re The U.P., and the veterans (in case some of you have wondered on why a guy from Illinois keeps on writing to the “Letters Section”) I was born and bred up there, for my first 21 years, and always will be a “yooper at heart!”

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