In 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ study on soldier suicide concluded that 22 veterans a day take their own lives. In 2014 that number was reduced to 20 thanks to national charities like Active Heroes whose mission is to stop soldier suicide.
That’s 8030 soldiers annually from all eras of war including Korean, WW2, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s more suicides in one year than the total American deaths during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is an alarming number that many find hard to believe and yet these numbers are a stark reality.
- Self-blame for mission failure
- Survivor’s guilt
- An Altered worldview due to post-traumatic stress
- Impaired thinking caused by alcohol or substance abuse
- Traumatic brain injury or other life changing injury
These are just a few examples of reasons that may trigger a veteran to commit suicide. If we can address these issues at the root then we can stop soldier suicide.
But what can be done to help reduce these numbers?
Active Heroes has a plan that’s already in action!
One of the many ways we hope to stop soldier suicide is through our unique Military Family Retreat Center in Louisville, KY. The retreat will support soldiers and their families from every state with unique programs and healing areas! The retreat center is located in Shepherdsville, KY, just 35 minutes from Fort Knox and is currently open for visitations and volunteer projects on Thursday – Saturday from 10am to 5pm. We have streamed-lined the process so that military families can visit the retreat each week and will host larger camping nights with seminars and great fun. Activities include hiking, an archery course, a scavenger challenge and cookouts.
We are currently raising much needed funds to develop 4 cabins that will each serve up to 71 families a year that get to spend 5 days and 5 nights free of charge. Military Families need a place to help them heal from the invisible wounds of war and triggering points. This unique retreat center needs your support to continue to assist these deserving families. We also offer other programs locally at our Veteran Community Center.
We believe with these efforts we can help in the reduction in these statistics and stop soldier suicide in its tracks. 20 killed is too many, we aim for zero.