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ANP, July 30, 2008

Suicides among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan reaching epidemic proportions

One Soldier's Suicide: Marine Corporal James Jenkins is one of the many unsung casualties of war.

By Garland McLaurin

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Suicides among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are reaching epidemic proportions. More than 6,000 veterans took their lives in 2005 alone, according to a study by CBS News. By some estimates, veterans are attempting suicide 1,000 times a month.

Marine Corporal James Jenkins of New Jersey was one of these unsung casualties of war. A decorated veteran of the Iraq invasion and the Battle of Najaf, he took his own life after serving 22 months overseas. His mother, Cynthia Fleming, shares his story with ANP -- a tragedy that is being repeated 15 times a day in this country.

According to The Associated Press (Jul 27, 2008):

More than 22,000 veterans have sought help from a special suicide hot line in its first year, and 1,221 suicides have been averted, the government says.

According to a recent RAND Corp. study, roughly one in five soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan displays symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, putting them at a higher risk for suicide. Researchers at Portland State University found that male veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide than men who are not veterans.

The hot line receives up to 250 calls per day — double the average number calling when it began. Kemp said callers are divided evenly between veterans from the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars.

The VA estimates that every year 6,500 veterans take their own lives. The mental health director for the VA, Ira Katz, said in an e-mail last December that of the 18 veterans who commit suicide each day, four to five of them are under VA care, and 12,000 veterans under VA care are attempting suicide each year.

Category: US-NATO - Views: 15591


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