By now, the public has become more aware of the startling number of daily military suicides—roughly 22 veterans a day are taking their own lives after they are discharged from service. However, the exact cause of (at the least the majority of) these suicides is unfortunately unknown. Fortunately, a contributor to the LA Times has conducted some extensive research to finally reach a conclusion as to why and how this daunting number of suicidal veterans came to be.
Alan Zarembo, author of the article “A misunderstood statistic: 22 military veteran suicides a day,” begins to explain how the number of 22 veterans a day is a bit outdated, collected in “a study published in early 2013 by researchers at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs”. Outdated, and on some level, a bit misleading.
People normally attribute the word “veteran” to mean an older man or woman who has previously served in war. In fact, Zarembo found that a majority (72%) of those who are considered “veterans” to be ages fifty and over. “The VA found that people in this age group account for 69% of veteran suicides,” which means that of the 22 veterans committing suicide daily, fifteen of them are 50 or older.
It is for this age-related reason, Zambero suspects, that contributes to the relatively high number of military suicides a day. When a person reaches a somewhat advanced age, such as fifty or older, they are more likely to become suicidal for many other reasons besides their service in the military. “Many experts believe that the farther a veteran is from military service, the less likely it is that his or her suicide has anything to do with his or her time in uniform,” Zambero writes, which thus creates more of a correlation between military and civilian suicides.
Depression, financial trouble, unemployment, mental disorders—all of these elements can easily play a role in causing a person, military personnel or civilian, to take his or her life.
Unfortunately, not many adequate resources exist for ailing and suicidal veterans. Over the past few weeks, the VA has grown increasingly negligent and unreliable when it comes to taking care of combat veterans, so it would be wise for veterans to search elsewhere for rehabilitation.
One of those organizations is Operation: I.V, a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2012 that helps combat veterans heal from both PTSD as well as traumatic brain injuries. Its founder, Roxann Abrams, is a Gold Star Mother who lost her son SFC Randy Abrams in 2009. Randy took his own life after experiencing a PTSD flashback from his service in Iraq. Randy had undiagnosed PTSD- a common occurrence among combat veterans either due to mistakes made by the medical field or simply the individual’s failure to report such grave symptoms.

As a result of her son’s death, Abrams founded Operation: I.V. so that combat veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan have a place to receive treatment through a specialized “VIP”, or “Veteran Intervention Plan” program. “VIP” offers ten different rehabilitation programs, including hyperbolic oxygen therapy, service dogs, and anxiety reduction therapy. Additionally, veterans may also partake in programs such as job retraining, business mentoring, and educational assistance. Again, while there is no cure for PTSD, the programs provided by Operation: I.V. can drastically improve a veteran’s mental health and overall outlook on life!

Author's Bio: 

Abigail Fazelat is a contributing writer for Operation: I.V., a non-profit organization founded by Gold Star Mother Roxann Abrams who lost her son SFC Randy Abrams to PTSD. Randy took his own life after experiencing a wartime flashback- an experience not uncommon to any combat veteran. As a result, Abrams founded Operation: I.V. as an “intravenous of help” for other Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and contemplating suicide. Fazelat has worked for the organization since October 2013 under a pseudonym.