Sara Leatherman, serving in Iraq in 2006, committed suicide in 2010.
The LA Times reports on new data released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs showing that women veterans have suicide rates approaching that of their male colleagues.
From the article:
Though suicide has become a major issue for the military over the last decade, most research by the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department has focused on men, who account for more than 90% of the nation’s 22 million former troops. Little has been known about female veteran suicide.
The rates are highest among young veterans, the VA found in new research compiling 11 years of data. For women ages 18 to 29, veterans kill themselves at nearly 12 times the rate of nonveterans.
In every other age group, including women who served as far back as the 1950s, the veteran rates are between four and eight times higher, indicating that the causes extend far beyond the psychological effects of the recent wars.
Many factors may contribute to the prevalence of suicide, but the article notes that women generally attempt suicide in greater numbers than men, but are less successful as a result of using uncertain methods. Women who have served in the army are more likely to have access to firearms, which is the least uncertain method used to commit suicide.
Are you aware of any ministries that reach out to women veterans? How can churches help men and women adjust to civilian life after experiencing the horrors of war?
Posted by David Streever