In 2012, for the first time in nearly a generation, more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in combat. For the year, an estimated 7,500 veterans died by suicide.
One in five suicide deaths in this country is a veteran.
In 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a study of veteran suicides from 1999 to 2010 and found those who have served are twice as likely to take their own lives as those who have never worn the uniform of their nation.
The study revealed a tragedy of epic proportions: one of our veterans commits suicide every 65 minutes, at a rate of 22 per day.
Twenty-two, every single day. Absolutely horrifying.
This statistic should be a gut punch to every American. It certainly has been for our Nine Line family. One of our former employees, a veteran, took his own life. He tried many times to get help from the VA system, but the system failed him.
The system has failed many. Between 2018 and 2019, at least 22 military veterans died of suicide, right at a VA center. They couldn’t get the help they needed at the moment they needed it most.
Getting help in the VA’s bureaucracy can be difficult at the best of times, let alone a crisis. Wait times for new medical appointments can take weeks, though any suicidal veteran who wants help is supposed to be seen the same day. “Supposed to” is the key.
Last year, President Trump signed an executive order to create a federal task force to figure out how government agencies can help prevent veteran suicides.
The President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide -- or the PREVENTS Initiative -- created a new Cabinet-level task force led by Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, which was given up to a year to submit its strategy.
The White House described the executive order as a "national call to action."
We’re certainly not waiting around for that.
In fact, our company name is a term known throughout the military as a call for help. We will always be our brothers’ keeper. We will never abandon this issue or those in need.
Veterans should not be dying or suffering, after putting their lives on the line in service for our country's freedom. Those who have served deserve only the best support that is available, especially in terms of psychiatric and medical care. They should be honored and protected.
If you or someone you know might be struggling or hurting right now, that you are not alone. Reach out to a friend, a battle buddy, or even call a veteran support hotline (our friends at 22 Until None are always standing by: 866-254-9961). There is ALWAYS another option.