Military suicides keep escalating. The rates are now way higher than they were during the Vietnam War, which is surprising. Vietnam vets were stigmatized from every angle, and received little help or support when they returned home. Iraq and Afghanistan vets have had a much better support system, and have been hailed as heroes and warriors upon their return. So, what’s the deal?
Suspects include multiple tours, job or relationship loss, PTSD, and polypharmacy.
When military reports cite “polypharmacy”, they are referring to the cornucopia of prescription drugs given out to active duty or vets for insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain, anti-seizure, and alertness. Most of these medications carry black box warnings of “suicidal ideation”. While they can offer huge benefits, they’re also tricky to calibrate.
Our veterans have already offered up their lives for our country, and perhaps it’s time for our country to say “You’ve done your part. Now it’s another citizen’s turn.” If there are not enough volunteers, then we could debate bringing back universal service, (lawmaker’s children first).