We Need To Give Veterans A Reason To Live

I’ve stated this so many times: we have to give struggling veterans a reason to live; otherwise, many will choose suicide as the way out of their pain.

About 22 veterans kill themselves every day, according to the military.

A recent Associated Press article explained why this tragic phenomenon isn’t going away:

“The U.S. military and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acknowledge the grave difficulties facing active-duty and former members of the armed services who have been caught up in the more-than decade-long American involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The system struggles to prevent suicides among troops and veterans because potential victims often don't seek counseling given the stigma still associated by many with mental illnesses or the deeply personal nature — a failed romantic relationship, for example — of a problem that often precedes suicide. Experts also cite illicit drug use, alcohol and financial woes.”

For us at Veterans Support Organization (VSO), we are all about giving unemployed and poor veterans a reason to live. At any given time, our staff provides jobs and housing for dozens of veterans, many of whom were homeless or on the verge of being homeless until VSO helped them. 

But we don’t just give them jobs and homes. We also offer them counseling, support and encouragement to uplift themselves and turn the page on their financial problems, drug addiction, and other long-term troubles. Many have told us that they were ready to give up on life and VSO gave them the will to keep fighting their hardships and rebuild their lives. (Read some of their stores in our news feed.)

I wish many more organizations could offer the same assistance to our nation’s struggling veterans. It breaks my heart to know that as many as 22 veterans have committed suicide just today. This could stop if -- and only if -- we give veterans a reason to live.

Richard VanHouten is the founder and CEO of Veterans Support Organization. 

Veteran Suicides
Military Suicides