Many of the problems Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are facing are the same problem Vietnam veterans faced. Suicide rates among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are just as high as the rates among Vietnam Veterans and like Vietnam veterans, suicide has taken the lives of more soldiers than the wars themselves. Like Vietnam, veterans are returning with “invisible casualties” at rates nowhere near expected.
Living in an environment where it is not known from second to second if something will explode in front of them has led soldiers to suffer from combat trauma. That combat trauma often leads to suicides among military personnel and veterans. The current wars, which have been ongoing for 10 years, are taking heavy tolls on the mental health of all participating soldiers.
Sidney A. Lee is a veteran and activist and believes black soldiers are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than other soldiers as they are assigned to combat units in higher numbers than other soldiers. Because of the higher number of soldiers with PTSD, more black soldiers therefore take their own lives, according to Lee.
He further states black soldiers have “difficulty” scoring high on the tests that would grant them access a military occupational specialties (MOS) not associated with the front lines. He goes on to say although blacks were 11% of the U.S. population from 1965-1969, they made up 12% of all troops in Vietnam and had a 14.9% fatality rate.
Lee blames the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of neglecting the needs of black soldiers and highlights a recent lawsuit in which the plaintiffs highlight the VA’s poor care. According to Lee, black soldiers are being put in combat situations in greater numbers than they were in Vietnam, which is in turn resulting in more PTSD among their ranks.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today – 1-888-234-5758.