Statistics from 2010 estimated that about 18 veterans commit suicide every day. Of those 18, only five were receiving care from the VA.
Below is a portion of a compelling story that offers vivid insight into a solider’s suicide. The article is written by Bill Murphy Jr. for Stars and Stripes published 7 June 2011.
He had plenty to think about on the 30-hour trip from Fort Drum, N.Y.
There were the alcohol-fueled mistakes that had led to the end of his military career, and the memories of good friends who had been killed the year before in Afghanistan. There was, in particular, his horrific discovery of the body of one friend who had been crushed to death in a Humvee accident.
There was the night back at Fort Drum when he’d tried to commit suicide.
Friends and family members say the Army was more than happy to take Andrews when it needed new soldiers for an unpopular war, but that it punished and abandoned him when he returned from Afghanistan, despite clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and possible traumatic brain injury.
Those actions, they charge, put Andrews on the path to his tragic demise. In April, as the government hounded him for repayment of his re-enlistment bonus, and after he was incorrectly denied the educational benefits he’d counted on to help make a new start, Andrews, 22, hanged himself in a wooded area near his parents’ home in Kansas City.
“He tried. The kid asked for help,” said Andrews’ mother, Lauri Turner. “But to them, he was just a number.”
Courtesy of Lauri Turner, the photo of her son Jacob Andrews was posted by him on Facebook just days before he committed suicide. You can read Jacob Andrews’ full story here.
If you know a veteran considering suicide – 24 hour help is available at 800-273-8255.
Filed under: Depression, Health - Physical and Mental, Military families, PTSD, Substance Abuse, Suicide Prevention, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), U.S. Army, Veterans, Veterans Administration Tagged: | Afghanistan, Army Specialist Jacob Andrews, Fort Drum, Mental health, Military discharge, military suicides, postaday3011, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stars and Stripes, Suicide, Traumatic brain injury, United States