According to a recent study, at least 22 U.S. military combat veterans commit suicide everyday (CBS News). Dr. Robert Bossarte is assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center
In this study, Dr. Bossarte concludes that patients within the Veterans Administration system are more likely to attempt to commit suicide than people in the civilian population. Though the rate of suicides has marginally decreased in recent years, there is still a reason for concern among the military community. There are a number of factors that could contribute to the decrease, including the reduction in troops to deployment hot spots such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Soldiers who have been in combat, particularly those who have been deployed multiple times to war-torn areas of the world, are more susceptible to suicide attempts. In the early years of the gulf wars, soldiers were discouraged from seeking help for psychological illness, formally known as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). As soldiers began to be sent on multiple deployments, the powers-that-be realized that understanding and treatment became necessary to help those who required more than a couple of days off.
Another study by the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that "combat troops following return from deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq found postwar rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ranging from 12.2% to 12.9% and rates of depression from 7.1% to 7.9%. Higher rates of PTSD were associated with higher levels of direct combat exposure and minor wounds or injury."
Veterans and some activists argue that the quality of care for combat veterans is still not as it should be. Unfortunately, families and survivors of fallen soldiers are often left fighting for benefits from the Veterans Administration that were promised upon enlistment.