Returning home from war is no easy feat. The feeling of relief we may assume is there… is not. The dark memories from last week, last month, or last year… they linger. In fact, coming home can be the most challenging, even more so, than the war itself. For veterans suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or a traumatic brain disorder (TBI) – sometimes, the challenge of returning to civilian life is too much to bear.

In the U.S., suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages (CDC). As of 2017, Veterans made up for 13.5% of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults and constituted 7.9% of the U.S. adult population.

Among PTSD factors such as panic disorders, depression, and substance abuse, after having gone through dangerous events, a person suffering has an increased risk of suicide if they:

  • have a history of mental illness
  • get hurt, or see others get hurt
  • feel a sense of horror, helplessness or extreme fear
  • do not have a circle of social support
  • face extra stress after returning home, like losing a loved one, pain or injury, or loss of a job

If someone has undergone a TBI, the risk for suicide can increase due to a number of factors. With stress that occurs after a vet returns back; suicidal thoughts may come as a result of:

  • loss of a support system or job;
  • increased psychological stress;
  • change of roles within the family unit; and/or
  • decreased ability to function as a parent, spouse or significant other.

You may have landed on this blog post because you know a loved one who needs help… or you personally feel there is nowhere to turn… or maybe you’re here out of sheer curiosity. It doesn’t matter – because for everyone & anyone reading, this is what we all need to take away.

Progress is a process. Darkness is everywhere, but the light is somewhere. You’re navigating a pitch-black tunnel for miles & miles & miles. It seems never-ending because you haven’t found the light switch yet.

You are not alone.

It will get better.