Tragically, more than 6400 veterans commit suicide every year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This great loss to a family is often compounded by the damage of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In 2008, Russell Dwyer, a highly decorated Army veteran shot and killed his estranged wife, Colleen. He then turned the gun on himself, orphaning their two small children. Colleen’s mother, Kathleen Price, laments that Russell was never himself after his 2003 deployment to Iraq. Though encouraged to seek help, Russell was concerned about his Army career and the effect of a PTSD or a mental health diagnosis on his military record.
Today, Kathleen and her husband are raising their grandchildren. While there is some financial support from the government, the children receive no veteran benefits as Russell was not clinically diagnosed with PTSD. Joe Lewis, CEO and founder of Angels of America’s Fallen, believes the United States has a responsibility to stand by the families of veteran suicide as the service they (and first responders) provide is very demanding and stressful.
Many thanks to Abbie Burke at Fox21 News for her excellent coverage of this important subject. More information regarding veteran benefits as they relate to suicide can be found at the following link: https://www.fox21news.com/top-stories/suicide-may-lead-to-loss-of-benefits-for-some-veteran-families/?fbclid=IwAR23aJB0TsaV8O_F3WYYTYbW3-sNiYAC3FwdP-U9_1RSTPBSeU1W1rcjua4