by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
November 18, 2012
Pay close attention to this.
According to a Veterans Affairs report this spring, a veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 suicides have occurred since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.
For every service member who dies in battle, 25 veterans die by their own hands.
How can I make this any clearer? How can I make people actually care? I read these stories everyday and it breaks my heart. What shatters it is when I get an email from a Mom when it is too late to help her son or daughter find what it is they need to try one more day.
Military suicides ‘out of control’
By RANDAL YAKEY
The News Herald
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Libby Busbee stands in her living room with a photo over her late son, U.S. Army Spc. William Busbee.CALLAWAY — Libby Busbee pounded on the window of her son’s maroon Dodge Charger as he sat in the driveway of their home on earlier this year. Locked inside his car, U.S. Army Spc. William Busbee sat with a .45-caliber gun pointed to the side of his head.
Andrew P Johnson | The News Herald
“Look at me,” his mother cried out as she to tried and get her son’s attention. “Look at me.”
He wouldn’t look.
He stared out the front windshield, distant, said Libby Busbee, relating the story from an apartment complex in Callaway.
“I kept yelling, ‘Don’t you do this. Don’t do it.’ He wouldn’t turn his head to look at me,” she said, looking down at the burning cigarette in her hand.
A 911 call was made. The police pulled her away from the car.
William, Libby Busbee’s 23-year-old son, was talking with a police officer when he fired a shot through the front windshield of his car, according to the police report.
The police recoiled. William rapped on the window in apparent frustration, the report indicated.
Then the second shot was heard.
“I knew that was the one,” said Libby Busbee.
William Busbee took his life in March with his mother and sisters looking on.
read more here
I wish I could say I was shocked by reports like this. What I wish more is that I wasn't still reading them after all these years. We cannot save all of them and sadly sometimes the best we can do is help the family after because for all the suicide numbers we see, there are entire families, long lists of friends and mental health and volunteer groups grieving that need help to heal too.
For every report of a suicide, there are many more attempting it. For every heartbreaking story we read, there are many more families wondering if their own veteran will end up the same way.
It is that call that goes straight to voice mail that gets them thinking about what could have happened. It is the call in the middle of the night that turns out to be a wrong number making their thoughts turn to "what if" as they try to go back to sleep. It is what they go through everyday.
Last week I had a long conversation with a woman asking me what I do. I explained it to her and she seemed to understand at first but shortly afterwards it was obvious she didn't. She said that she didn't think all these heartbreaking stories should be on my site. I told her that while she may just now being made aware of all of this, it has been going on forever. Most citizens just didn't know about it. Just because they were not reading about it, didn't mean it was not happening.
One of the reasons this blog is here is that while continuing research on PTSD, I was finding more and more stories across the country that were not carried by major media sites. They came from small town newspapers. There are now 774 reports on military suicides on this blog alone. There are 2,337 with combat and PTSD and 4,423 post for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Families can find each other and find some comfort with others going through the same thing clear across the nation. Veterans surviving suicide attempts find others they can gain some strength from and understand they are not alone. It is one thing to read a bunch of numbers and another to read about their lives.
I spent too many years believing there was no where for me to turn trying to save my husband and my family, so I can testify personally to the unbearable sadness that comes with thinking no one can understand and few care.
As long as huge charities get all the attention and funding, we will keep seeing these numbers go up because they put getting money ahead of their mission. As long as we see groups like Point Man Ministries helping since 1984 go unfunded because our mission comes first but we fall apart because we don't have the financial support, we will see the numbers go up. We can't help if no one helps us do what we are compelled to do.
As long as the military keeps pushing programs that are supposed to help but turn out to be part of the problem, we will see these numbers go up.
So if these numbers shock you today, it only means it is because you didn't pay attention to what was happening all over the country.