CBS News reported yesterday that the number of army veteran suicides exceeds the number of US soldiers dying in Iraq.
At least 6,256 US veterans took their lives in 2005, at an average of 17 a day, according to figures broadcast last night. Former servicemen are more than twice as likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide.
Such statistics compare to the total of 3,863 American military deaths in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 – an average of 2.4 a day, according to the website ICasualties.org.
Related story: WWII Vet Commits Suicide in Front of VA as Statement on Lack of VA Benefits
Harriett Chapman’s eyes filled with tears Sunday as she recalled one of the last conversations she had with her 89-year-old father before he fatally shot himself outside a Greenville veterans’ clinic last month.
Grover Cleveland Chapman told his family, “No matter what I apply for at the VA, they turn me down,” she recalled.
The next day, the World War II veteran took his own life outside the Veterans Outpatient Clinic at 3510 Augusta Road, said Greenville County Deputy Coroner Mike Ellis.
Harriett Chapman sees her father’s April 24 death as his way of sending a message about the medical care offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
While staff at the clinic treated him well, he’d recently lost two battles in a continuous struggle to claim medical benefits, she said.
“He felt like the VA turned its back on him and a lot of other veterans,” Harriett Chapman said.
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