Iraq Vet Suicides

The Defense Department has no procedures to track suicides by veterans who return home from combat in Iraq. They have so far recorded 107 suicides during operations in Iraq, but little is known concerning those who return home with emotional scars from battle and scenes of death. A recent report by the Veterans Administration admits there is lack of properly trained health care workers in many hospitals, and there is also grossly inadequate screening occurring to identify mental health issues.

Anyone who is close to a returning Iraq veteran knows full well the difficulties many are encountering in adjusting to life back home. For those in the Reserve or National Guard, one or two or even three deployments has wrecked havoc with their careers as well as caused serious problems with a spouse. We forget that extracting men and women from well paying careers and placing them on service pay may be for most a dramatic impact on standards of living. A spouse must not only cope with loss of a husband or wife, but with the need to make financial adjustments.

Isn’t it about time serious thought was given to ensuring that any member of the National Guard or Reserves is entitled to pay equivalent to their wages prior to being deployed? That would alleviate for many financial strains, which are an emotional drain upon people who are separated from a spouse who is struggling to keep things normal. I also suspect for many returning veterans they are encountering the “slip behind” syndrome at work. If an individual is gone 18 months their employer had to hire a replacement, and the job promotion that might have been attained is no longer available. We can’t solve the emotional problems brought home by those who witnessed indescribable horror, but we can at least give them financial security while deployed. We can also provide free, high-quality counseling services to any veteran for as long as needed.
Information from Army Times

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