Why is veterans and 1st responder suicide so high


Let’s put into context that I am not a veteran or first responder. Nor am I clinic psychologist.

But I am ceo of a company that employs young men and women, so I see a lot of what structure does to their psyche

Secondly I am obsessive and there is some relatively good data on suicide.

Lastly I would like to make aware that my intention is to find truth. Not to say things that make us feel good.

We could say that all veterans and first responders are super hero’s but that would be doing them a disservice. They are humans,  they have insecurities and  are no different than you and I.

Speaking truth always has two outcomes. One it initially hurts peoples feelings, two it gets us closer to a solution overtime.

Enough prefacing, I think we can bring down this high rate of suicide, to three fundamental areas

Remember there were 6,392 veterans who took their own life in just 2021 alone. So this is not a small number. And that number exceeds 11,000 in 2021 if you also take into account first responders.


First most people that join the military, police, fire stations etc are from lower economic status. (Again remember I said this will piss a lot of people off) this is something we cannot ignore. In clinical psychology it is very well known that a person from lower economic means has a higher propensity towards all mental health disorders.

This comes from a plethora of different reasons but we know that not having access to good medical care from a young age leaves a “wall” up where many don’t understand it’s a resource.


Secondly, and this seems pretty obvious, but the proximity to death and bodily harm. If you see death and injury frequently it numbs your mind. It becomes more “accessible” in throughly patterns. This goes into an even deeper dive… the dragon eating its own tail.

That fact that veterans take their life more often, causes more veterans to take their own life… a little weird I know. But this is what we call “memetics” yes meme like the dumb pictures you see online.

The original meaning of memetic is like the genetic. Genetic being  set of traits passed down from one generation to another through replication of dna.

Memetics are cultural norms that get passed from generation to generation and also from person to person in a social group. So suicide has become a “meme” in the veteran world.

(Richard Dawkins, the selfish gene https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-selfish-gene_richard-dawkins/247478/item/4993486/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_everything_else_customer_acquisition&utm_adgroup=&utm_term=&utm_content=593719077582&gad_source=4&gclid=CjwKCAiAi6uvBhADEiwAWiyRdnBfhWqrQQao5M1YqOICR94bOeb7GhQcG0f2oWxrHyVfgbWEh53xORoCNo8QAvD_BwE#idiq=4993486&edition=3674131)

And that is a very hard thing to break.


Lastly substance abuse, 1 in 10 veterans have substance abuse disorder. Which means that they are dealing with other mental health disorders and simply self medicating. This is very common for any person with trauma. As we can image the nature of these positions cause trauma almost daily. You are put into a new environment that the premise of your job is to handle very dangerous situations.

Even the normal day to day can be filled with anxiety. Because you never know what is “around the corner”. I am not a substance abuse counselor but I know that this is a very clear sign that something is wrong. So you can get objective information here is a website with some really clear information. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/veterans/suicide-among-veterans

Than you for taking the time to read this. And please remember you may know someone who is struggling that doesn’t mean it has to be one of these three things. It means that data shows us these three things will affect a higher percentage of people.

I am currently working on my charity The Winter Warrior and with the Red Cross. We plan to get veterans and family members access to suicide prevention course.

Here is the link to read more about it.


I will be updating regularly how we will get access to this program to everyone.

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