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Why do 18 US veterans commit suicide each day?

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Today I read a report that an average of 18 war veterans kill themselves each day, with five of them being under Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) care.

A class action lawsuit was finally filed against the VA by our veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because of inadequate medical care (mental and physical).

To avoid "defeat" we "surge" our troops, yet no one has "surged" the medical care staff to take care of our veterans that are coming home. We launched campaigns in different countries, yet no one has launched the needed care providers in our own country.

For over a decade, I have been fighting to get our veterans the health care and benefits they have earned and that they deserve. Many people point to funding, but the problem is NOT funding. It is the atmosphere and attitude of the employees. Most of the VA employees are rude, and even more don't care about the veteran they are hired to serve. There are a few good people that work at the VA, but they quickly lose their spirit working in such a negative work environment.

Why are over 1/4th of our veterans homeless? Why are over 1/5th suffering from untreated depression and post traumatic stress disorder? Why does it take a year to get our vets into the "system" to receive treatment? Why does it take three months to get an appointment with a physician? Why is it nearly impossible to get desperately needed mental health care?

Using our governments own numbers (which are greatly under counted) show the casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan so far as:
Dead: 4,526
Wounded: 31,590
Injured: 10,180
Ill: 28,451

The veterans aren't asking for any special treatment or any new benefits. They just want to be treated with respect and receive the medical care that the earned by serving our country.

I am a disabled veteran, and I usually have to go the VA at least once a month. I have always made this offer - and my offer still stands: Anyone who thinks that are veterans are being treated fairly is invited to join me on my trips to the VA and see things first-hand. So far, all of my senators and representatives have declined my offer. It is their fault for letting this happen and they are responsible for turning their heads away whenever I bring up this subject.

Whenever you meet a soldier, sailor, or veteran - please take a minute to thank them, tell them that you appreciate their sacrifices, and promise them to change the government that has broken all of its promises to them.

Thank you!

-- Gary Wright II

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