Suicides among veterans continues to shock the public and test the VA support system.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/us/recent-california-suicides-highlight-failures-of-veterans-support-system.xml

By AARON GLANTZ

Published: March 25, 2012
“Francis Guilfoyle, a 55-year-old homeless veteran, drove his 1985 Toyota Camry to the Department of Veterans Affairs campus in Menlo Park early in the morning of Dec. 3, took a stepladder and a rope out of the car, threw the rope over a tree limb and hanged himself.
It was an hour before his body was cut down, according to the county coroner’s report.
“When I saw him, my heart just sank,” said Dennis Robinson, 51, a formerly homeless Army veteran who discovered Mr. Guilfoyle’s body. “This is supposed to be a safe place where a vet can get help. Something failed him.”
Although it is sad and shocking to hear about these incidents of suicide among those who served in the armed forces and fought for our freedoms, public awareness is critical.  America makes big decisions together to send our kids to war, but we seem to forget about the soldiers’ emotional well being and challenges when they return home.  All too often, combat veterans are broken and wounded emotionally when they return home.  The conditions and symptoms of anxiety and depression can lead to a toxic life at home and in the communities they reside.  The nation and communities at large must come together to do more when soldiers come home.  They are not alone on the battle field, and they shouldn’t be alone when they get home.
Steve Sparks
Author
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

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