In May of 2012, I attended the Wounded Warrior Courage awards and dinner. I was flown up to New York City, stayed at the W in Manhattan and put on a tux for the gala across the street at the Waldorf Astoria. The evening was emceed by Bob Costas, there were athletes, coaches and dignitaries. It was an amazing night to honor many of those who have persevered and those who help our wounded veterans. It was inspiring to see wounded veterans rising up and doing great things.
But, to this day, one thing sticks out in my memory from that night that inspires me to help our veterans. It was shocking and left many mouths agape in the auditorium. It was the suicide rate of our veterans. In January, it was reported that male veterans under 30 saw a 44 percent increase in the rate of suicides. As it stands now, 22 veterans take their lives each day.
Speechless. The Huffington Post reported that in 2012, we had more active duty suicides then combat deaths in Afghanistan.
There is good news; veterans who seek assistance through the VA have seen a decrease in suicide rates. The goal is now to expand the outreach and make sure our veterans are aware and using the services available to them.
The Veterans Crisis Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (800)-273-8255, press 1.
Homeless Veteran in need of help? Call 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838)
Watch for future blog posts offering tips for veteran recruiting and how veterans can transition back into the civilian work force.