Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Vets PSTD and suicide

I ran across an article today on a topic that I don’t think gets covered enough. It had a comment in it that really caught my attention as well.

The article is entitled: “Vets’ suicides: casualties that go uncounted and another hidden cost of war”. It talks about the terrible tragedy of war-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its relationship to suicide. It also mentions how PTSD is often undiagnosed and untreated, how its toll is not tracked after discharge, and how it is a growing problem even in the face of threatened cuts in veterans’ healthcare benefits.

But what really caught me was the statement: “No one knows how many Vietnam veterans killed themselves because no one ever bothered to track or count. There are many experts, Jonathan Shay for example, who have no trouble believing that there have been more suicides since the war than there are names on the Wall…”

My father died by suicide after a second tour in Viet Nam in 1972.

We can not let this tragedy continue and repeat the mistakes of the past. PSTD and suicide in active duty soldiers and in veterans must become a priority. Let’s support our troops.


Ron Franscell said...

Dr. Keller: Your blog is fascinating. I'm a journalist and author (my latest book is a true crime, as a matter of fact) and I find your openness to be refreshing. Your examination of various topics is accessible and thought-provoking. I'll visit often ... and link at one of my sites!

Ron Franscell

Anonymous said...

After reading your blog on suicide I went to look at the county statistics on death and found that they have not been updated in a few years!!! Why would this be???

Dr. Richard Keller said...

Working with the county IT department is quite frustrating. It took several months to get me listed as the Coroner on our site and again, more recently, to get the site updated with my most recent staff changes. The stats we have are current and we are "dogging" IT to get them up (they promise "soon".) We will also be adding links for survivor support, suicide information, etc. When IT gets the stuff up for us I will post about it.