Some Veterans Face Tremendous Health Challenges Following Service - One Leading Cause of Death is Suicide

The men and women who serve in the armed forces risk their lives to serve. When they leave the military, they face a variety of health problems. Perhaps the saddest is the high rate of suicide.

Recommend This Page
Some Veterans Face Tremendous Health Challenges Following Service - One Leading Cause of Death is Suicide
5 Min Read August 30th, 2022

Becoming a soldier is one of the noblest professions a person can choose, particularly due to how risky it is. Those who join the military do so knowing they can become injured or worse in the line of duty.

Unfortunately, many soldiers pay the ultimate price for protecting their country and its citizens. However, not all deaths in the armed forces are active combat related. One of the leading causes of death in the military is suicide among active duty service members and veterans.

Before you do anything - talk with someone who will listen. If you are thinking about suicide, you should speak to someone right now. In the United States, you can call "988" or call "911" if you need emergency response immediately. Many countries also have special phone lines in place to help those with mental health emergencies.

For worldwide mental health emergency contact numbers listed by country - Global Mental Health Resources – CheckPoint

Military Suicides Not New

While military-related suicides are not new, they are becoming much more common. Since 2001, over 30,000 members of the armed forces and vets have taken their own lives.

Many veterans have other health issues they must juggle as well. Heart disease, unintentional injuries (for example - auto accidents), malignant neoplasm, and liver disease are some health problems veterans deal with once they leave their service. But suicide is perhaps the most shocking, with the U.S. Veterans Administration reporting former service members dying by suicide at a rate twice as high as non-veterans.

Why do veterans decide to commit suicide? What can be done to prevent this from happening? How can families help?

Why Do Vets Take Their Own Lives?

There is no singular driving force behind why active and former military personnel may take their own lives. However, some general factors appear to contribute:

  • Issues With Transitioning Back into Civilian Life

For many soldiers, the biggest challenge is not life on the frontlines but reintegrating into civilian society. The process of demobilization can be incredibly tough, particularly for those who have spent years or decades serving their country. Veterans are at higher risk of suicide when their transitioning doesn't go smoothly.

Many soldiers struggle to reintegrate because they feel like they no longer have a place in society. They may feel isolated and alone in a civilian world they have trouble understanding. After all, in many regards, ordinary life is entirely different from military service.

Many veterans have issues finding employment and experience homelessness. In fact, over 9% of all homeless people in the United States are former armed forces members.

All of these challenges can make it very difficult for veterans to readjust to civilian life, leading some to take their own lives.

  • Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders are also contributing factors to military and veteran suicides.

Soldiers' most common mental health disorders are PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, and depression. These conditions can be incredibly debilitating, making it very difficult for those affected to live a normal life.

Many soldiers develop PTSD after experiencing traumatic events while on active duty. This can include being involved in combat, witnessing a friend or fellow soldier being killed, or being the victim of sexual assault.

PTSD can cause those affected to experience flashbacks, nightmares, and even combative behavior. It can be tough to cope with these symptoms, particularly when there is no one to talk to who understands what you are going through.

TBI (traumatic brain injury) is another relatively common condition among soldiers. TBI can be caused by various things, like exposure to blasts, car accidents, or falls. Its symptoms include headaches, dizziness, sleep problems, and memory issues. It can be challenging to cope with TBI, particularly when it is not correctly diagnosed or treated.

Many soldiers who take their own lives do so because they are struggling to deal with mental health disorders that were caused by their time in the military.

  • Social Issues

Those who have been deployed overseas may struggle to reconnect with their families and friends upon returning. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which may contribute to suicide.

It is not uncommon for soldiers to develop substance abuse problems. This can be due to the availability of drugs and alcohol while on active duty or as a way of self-medicating mental health disorders. Substance abuse can cause further social and relationship problems, ultimately pushing some to commit suicide.

Solutions

However, not all is lost. With proper care and devotion, it is possible to help these soldiers and vets get a grip on their lives again and let them avoid stressors that may push them over the edge.

  • Joining Veteran Organizations

One of the most effective ways to make the reintegration process successful is by joining various veteran organizations. Doing this lets transitioning personnel meet and connect with other former soldiers who are currently going through or have gone through the same thing.

Meeting with like-minded people who know the hardships of returning to civilian life perfectly well can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. It also provides a great support network you can reach out to when things get tough.

Some veteran organizations even go beyond just helping soldiers readjust to civilian life and might help new vets find employment or get a higher education.

  • Getting Mental Health Treatment

As mentioned above, mental health disorders are one of the most significant risks to soldiers and veterans. As such, if you find yourself struggling with daily life, don't hesitate to reach out for help.

It is essential to get proper treatment if you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue. There is nothing shameful about asking for help and getting treatment to improve the quality of your life.

 If you are a veteran in need of mental health treatment, you can get specialized care at any VA (Veterans Affairs) facility. The VA also offers a Veterans Crisis Line that provides free and confidential support 24/7.

  • Finding a New Calling

Military life entails a very rigid routine that can be very difficult to readjust from after leaving the armed forces. As such, many soldiers find it helpful to find a new hobby or activity they can invest themselves in.

Doing things that you are passionate about can reduce stress and prevent your mental condition from worsening. Even something as simple as regular volunteer work in the local community can make a massive difference to your mental well-being. This can help you find a new purpose in life and give you something to strive for.

Vets and Long-Term Health Care

Veterans often need long-term health care either due to normal aging or because of service-related health issues. According to the VA, veterans must be enrolled in VA health care before applying for VA long-term care services.

VA service-connected disability status and income will be reviewed to determine if a vet will be charged a copay for VA health care services and VA long-term care services. Generally, VA health will pay for long-term care services for a limited period of time like health insurance; however, if a veteran requires care because of a service-related issue or because they are low income, VA will pay.

Many veterans in good health will obtain private Long-Term Care Insurance to have a choice of care outside of VA-provided services.

Conclusion

While suicide is a leading cause of death in the military, it is not inevitable. There are many things that can be done to reduce the risk of suicide among soldiers and veterans – from proper treatment to surrounding yourself with like-minded people to set a goal worth striving for.

Preventing military suicides requires a concerted effort from all members of society, not just the government or medical professionals. If you are struggling with your mental health or think someone you know may be at risk of suicide, don't hesitate to reach out for help.

Recommend This Page

About the Author

A copywriter who loves to create engaging and informative content. He's an avid fan of all things science fiction and futurism.

LTC News Contributor Max Szumiłowicz

Max Szumiłowicz

Contributor since August 31st, 2022

Editor's Note

If you are a veteran or you have a loved one who has served their country, understand there are resources available for health - including mental health. However, some vets, like the rest of us, delay seeking help. Don't delay.

Don't delay in planning. If you are a vet and have savings to protect, you may want to consider adding an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy to your retirement planning. You must have reasonably good health to obtain coverage, but if you wish to access your choice of quality care services and have savings to protect, an LTC policy can be beneficial.

Most people get their coverage in their 50s. Seek the assistance of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many available options.

Find Professional Help When Shopping for LTC Coverage

Long-Term Care Insurance premiums can vary by over 100% between insurance companies. A specialist will match your age, health, family history, and other factors from among the top-rated insurance companies to find the best coverage at the best value.

Don't forget you need to only consider tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policies that meet federal guidelines under Section 7702(b) of U.S. Code. These plans will provide important consumer protections, regulated benefit triggers, and tax incentives as mandated by federal law.

Find a trusted and experienced specialist who works with all the top companies to help you plan for financial costs and the burdens of aging.

Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

You want trusted and accurate information; unfortunately, there is a lot of inaccurate material on the internet. Even financial professionals are not up-to-date on long-term care planning. LTC NEWS is here to help.

LTC NEWS has compiled the most frequently asked questions about long-term care, and we provide the answers to these questions - Frequently Asked Questions

All the available resources on LTC NEWS are right here - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.

The cost of long-term health care services is skyrocketing nationwide. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows you the current and future cost of care services where you live - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State.

How About Elderly Parents?

If your older parents or family members are declining and need help now, what can you do to help? You can get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether or not they have an LTC policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Is a Reverse Mortgage Helpful?

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource. You can fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. 

You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew," will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

Be a Contributor to LTC NEWS

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

LTC NEWS - Your Marketing and Advertising Partner

Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

Shared Links and News

LTC NEWS offers a 'helpful links' page so readers looking for additional information can find them easily. You can get a dofollow link to your website on LTC NEWS in exchange for a dofollow link on your site.

Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com  

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Get Accurate Quotes

Work With A Trusted Specialist

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies
man and woman sitting at desk
Connect With a Long-Term Care Specialist

Find Affordable Insurance and the Right Coverage.

LTC News Trusted & Verified
Learn More
Latest
  • Latest

  • Oldest

Everything
  • Homecare

  • Health

  • Government

  • Care Facilities

  • Pets

  • People

  • Lifestyle

  • Insurance

Step 1 of 4

Find a Specialist

Get Started Today

Trusted & Verified Specialists

Work with a trusted Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist Today

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • A strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Compare Insurers

+

Claim this listing

Fill out this short form

Step Number:

1
2
3

Request Listing Edit

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Step Number:

1
2
3

Are you a customer of this business, or are you an employee?