Suicide Rate Up Among Young Veterans

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- They stepped forward to serve when their country called, but now veterans may be the ones in need of help here at home.

Alarming new numbers show more of our country's young warriors are struggling to heal their invisible wounds.

"Any number of suicides is unacceptable," said Cmdr. Mac McCauley, a U.S. Navy veteran, "We're seeing unparalleled trauma from Afghanistan and those veterans who have been in Iraq."

Trauma that lasts long after soldiers return home which is leaving some young veterans to fight another war.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of suicides for male veterans ages 18 to 29 jumped 44 percent in a matter of only three years to a suicide rate of nearly 58 per 100,000 veterans.

"Once these veterans come home, there's a whole different world here for them," said McCauley.

In this fight, McCauley said anyone can make a difference.

"We see them wearing their baseball caps and people walk up to them and say 'Thank you for your service.' I was walking through the mall the other day and some young child walked up and he saluted me. And I of course returned his salute. And that's the thing we like to see," said McCauley.

That same government report shows the suicide rate for veterans 35 to 64 has dropped.

Next week, Sen. Mark Warner will meet with veterans at VFW Post 2216 in Staunton to talk with Valley veterans about issues that are important to them.


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