Let’s think about this before we start another war:
At the Veterans Crisis Line in Canandaigua, New York, the calls come in all day and night. Every day, 1,700 calls come in from veterans on the brink. […]
Twenty veterans take their lives every day in America, or 6,000 a year. Personal finances, broken relationships and loneliness are all factors. […]
Responder Terrence Davis, a Navy veteran himself, said he always tries to answer by the second ring.
“It’s highly stressful. Just knowing that you have someone else’s life in your hands,” Davis said.
Former Sergeant Danny O’Neel knows that feeling. Santa Cruz, California, may be a long way from the battlefield, but for him and his men, Sadr City, Iraq, is close by.
“It was hell on Earth. It was the most dangerous place at the time,” O’Neel said.
In 2006, his unit lost nine men in the fighting. But back home, 14 have died at their own hands.
“The guys started isolating and drinking and doing things that they thought were helping them cope. And it, and it led to depression and suicide,” he said.
Suicide hotline operators, and every other healthcare provider trying to heal these vets, are doing some of the hardest work there is. But their labor is a tiny fraction of what’s needed to stop these preventable deaths. We need more research, more providers, and more money spent on providing care for vets and others. More broadly, we need to expand our concept of a casualty of war, and understand the true long-term cost of wars that DC armchair warriors are constantly pushing.