Democratic lawmakers have called for the resignation of Ira Katz, the chief mental health official at the United States Veterans Affairs Department, after E-mails emerged suggesting that Katz attempted to conceal the high rate of suicide among veterans.
One E-mail has a subject heading of "Shh!" and states that 12,000 veterans a year attempt suicide while under care of the veterans agency—far more than the department has admitted publicly. Another, according to the Associated Press, says an average of 18 veterans kill themselves each day. If that number is correct, it means that more veterans have killed themselves in one year than have been killed in combat during the entire Iraq war.
Society expects men to grin and bear it when they sink into depression. That's part of the reason that men, particularly those with easy access to firearms, bear the brunt of suicide. Almost four times as many men as women kill themselves, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Here are a few resources that might help veterans and their families:
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK)
• The Suicide Prevention Action Network USA (202-449-3600)
• National Center for PTSD (802-296-6300)