Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, an Army infantry officer who has served in Iraq, writes about the spike in suicides among service members and, especially, young veterans:
He wrote his suicide note in his own blood, as it was flowing out of him. It was addressed to me. He was apologizing for the administrative headaches that he anticipated his death would cause. …
Want me to go on? I can. Oh, how I can. But that would be beside the point.
The point is that we are losing men and women, and we should not be. Not now, not in the 21st century. We should see these signs and step in, and me and my Army are failing so far. But then, so are you. We can work to prevent the suicides of those in uniform. But we need you, all of you, to step in when the soldier is no longer a soldier, but a “veteran.”
The VA just put out new numbers. Suicides are spiking among young veterans.
… if you have a veteran with you, especially a young combat veteran, just keep a weather eye open. Talk, learn, listen, and pay attention. It really is not hard. Better that than looking back and remembering, and dreaming of what you might have [expletive] done differently, for the rest of your entire life. Believe me on that one friends. Believe.
If you or someone you know is a service member or veteran who needs help, call this hotline any time, 24/7, at (800)-273-8255, press 1, or visit veteranscrisisline.net. We already owe far too many of our veterans far too much. Let us not add unnecessarily to that debt, for their sakes and our own.