Those who served in the US military in recent conflicts were four times more likely to die from suicide than from combat injuries, according to a June study. More than 30,000 service personnel and veterans of post-9/11 conflicts are estimated to have died by suicide since 2001, while about 7,000 have died in military operations.
Amid the chaos of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, now controlled by the Taliban* Islamist group, and frantic evacuation effort from Kabul Airport, many American veterans are experiencing a particularly difficult time psychologically, reported The Daily Beast.
The mental health toll of the lightening-fast Taliban onslaught has weighed heavy on veterans who may be having suicidal thoughts, according to the Veterans Affairs Department’s national director for suicide prevention, Matthew Miller. Calls to suicide hotlines are reportedly up, according to the outlet.
According to the VA, as of 25 August, the Veterans Crisis Line had seen approximately a six percent increase in calls since 13 August. On the latter date, news had come in of the Taliban securing control of half of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals. On 16 August, the day after the Taliban secured the capital, the Veterans Crisis Line received a nearly 12 percent increase in calls, while 25 August registered a 17 percent spike as compared to the previous year.
Miller was unable to clarify whether the uptick can be directly attributed to the situation in Afghanistan.