Veteran Suicide: Its Reality and Its Stigma

This video describes the stigma felt by many military men and women when dealing with suicide ideation or attempting to seek help. We are asking the VA Hospital System to release its billions of dollars in unpaid veteran medical debt for full and total forgiveness. #EndVetMedDebt is a year-long project by Let's Rethink This.


John Kirbow (Special Warfare Veteran Iraq & Afghanistan, Anthropolgical/Social Researcher):
This segways into a deeper question, why are some Veterans hesitant or reluctant to open up about some of their problems?

And there's many that are okay doing this but there's many that aren't and a lot of it is this stigma, this perceived stigma, on showing weakness. We have this idea of strength and warrior culture where you're supposed to be strong and physically and mentally and that's a good thing but part of that should be a willingness to be vulnerable to be honest about your problems.

Jerry Ashton (Veteran, Co-Founder of RIP Medical Debt, Founder of Let's Rethink This):
I wasn't aware of that. there was a particular need or problem within the military world because as a Veteran myself, US Navy, my experience was you got out of the service and and the VA took care of you.

Bob Bent (Lieutenant Colonel Retired US Army, DAV - Disabled American Veterans):
Veterans are committing suicide at a rate of 22 per day. A significant number of them in the analysis post-death analysis has been there in debt - up to their ears.

Tim Pena (Navy SeaBees Veteran, Veterans Justice Project):
We very often don't hear about Veterans who attempted suicide because most Veterans, in truth, if we want to commit suicide, we're going to do it and we're going to be successful at it. So there's not necessarily an area of that that's going to be attempt.

Russel Midori (Military Veterans in Journalism):
The one thing is that there's a double-edged sword here because I don't want to exacerbate the stigma that Veterans are this kind of like group that is helpless that they are, you know, damaged or broken. There's a stigma associated with that and it's harmful to Veterans or it can be harmful to Veterans.

Marty Klein (Sergent US Air Force, Blind Veteran Found of Why Can't We Serve):
People who commit suicide do it because they're isolated, they got PTSD. they don't know about asking for help, and they end up taking their lives. If you make friends with a Vet, you might be saving the life of a Veteran