Suicide among combat veterans suffering from symptoms of PTSD is scary!

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/pages/ptsd-suicide.asp

Does trauma or PTSD increase an individual’s suicide risk?

“A body of research indicates that there is a correlation between trauma and suicidal behaviors. There is evidence that traumatic events such as childhood abuse and other types of trauma may increase a person’s suicide risk (3,4,5,6,7,8). These studies have looked at whether a history of trauma exposure is linked to suicidal behaviors. Studies also suggest that suicide risk is higher in persons with PTSD. For example, research has found that trauma survivors with PTSD have a significantly higher risk of suicide than trauma survivors diagnosed with other psychiatric illness or with no mental pathology (9).”

I listened to a sad story yesterday that compelled me to learn more and share.  In talking privately to a medical professional in my local community I learned about a 23 year old combat veteran who returned from Iraq recently and committed suicide.  The scary part is that there were no visible signs of depression or anxiety.  Our heroes our proud.  They feel guilt as a survivor returning home and sometimes choose suicide rather than acting out or seeking treatment.  They think about their buddies who were killed.  They can’t get the empty combat boots and helmet that is tradition in honoring the fallen.  They are in extreme pain.  I also heard today that there are around 17 daily reports of combat veteran suicide attempts in the US.  The number, if accurate, is frightening to say the least.  What about the suicide attempts that go unreported per the above website reference?

I’m not going to stop talking and reporting about this critical matter.  We must become more aware as a public about PTSD.  Read my story, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story, to learn more about one family’s struggle over 7 decades of not talking or doing something.  My story is just a symbol of a huge problem in our country that has existed since the civil war.  We need to do more!

Steve Sparks