Veteranclaims’s Blog

September 20, 2010

Suicide Rates Among Veterans Both Male and Female

Full Article at: Combat trauma afflicts women, men alike

Lily Casura Napa Valley Register | Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010 12:00 am

“A few months ago, I attended the week-long clinical training program in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the National Center for PTSD in Menlo Park (Veterans Administration) as well as the “Brain at War” conference in San Francisco, put on by the Department of Defense. Both made clear how much money is being spent on research ($500 million), but success stories can be hard to find. PTSD affects veterans, their families and communities; it can also lead to suicide.

Current statistics show an active-duty suicide every 36 hours, and that 18 veterans a day die by their own hand. Suicides are on the rise in every branch of the military that’s seen heavy combat in the current wars — Marines, Army, National Guard — and so far this year, there have been more suicides than combat deaths.

The problem extends to women veterans as well. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Women veterans are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than nonveteran women” — and also die at a younger age, “between 18 and 34.”

Clearly, the problem is serious and troubling. Suicide is the final step on a journey of misery, pain and despair that can potentially be halted earlier, by intervention that increases a veteran’s chances of survival and success.

Five years ago, after writing about integrative medicine for years, I created the nonprofit Healing Combat Trauma, a website devoted to therapeutic resources for veterans with combat-based PTSD. Today, that’s becoming an actual program to lead combat vets with PTSD through, using integrative medicine — “the best of East and West” — to help them recover from the scars of war.”

(Lily Casura, a Yountville resident, is the founder and executive director of Healing Combat Trauma, (800) 262-0428

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