Why There Needs to Be More Attention Given to Veteran Families After a Veteran Suicide

Why There Needs to Be More Attention Given to Veteran Families After a Veteran Suicide

Families Bear The Burden of Even the Best Laid Suicide Plans

When we think of the sacrifices made by our brave veterans, we often focus on their service and the challenges they face during their time in the military. However, it is equally important to acknowledge the struggles their families go through, especially after a veteran suicide. The impact of such a tragic event extends far beyond the individual, affecting the mental health and well-being of their loved ones. In this article, we will explore why there needs to be more attention given to veteran families after a veteran suicide postvention and highlight the significance of providing comprehensive support systems to help them navigate this difficult journey.

The Toll of Veteran Suicide on Families: Unraveling the Aftermath

The Devastating Ripple Effect

The aftermath of a veteran suicide reverberates throughout the entire family unit. It shatters the lives of spouses, children, parents, and siblings, leaving them grappling with grief, guilt, and a myriad of complex emotions. The sudden loss of a loved one to suicide can lead to a host of psychological and emotional challenges, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even an increased risk of suicide among family members.

A Closer Look at the Statistics

To understand the gravity of the situation, let’s examine some statistics related to veteran suicide and its impact on families:

1. According to a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 17.6 veterans die by suicide each day in the United States.
2. Approximately 20% of all suicides in the country are committed by veterans, despite veterans comprising only about 7% of the population.
3. The suicide rate among veterans is 1.5 times higher than that of the general population.

These figures highlight the urgent need for a more comprehensive approach to address the mental health needs of not only veterans but also their families.

Why There Needs to Be More Attention Given to Veteran Families After a Veteran Suicide Postvention

It is crucial to recognize the unique challenges faced by veteran families after a suicide and provide them with the support they need. Here are several compelling reasons why we must direct more attention to these families during the postvention process:

1. Breaking the Stigma and Providing Validation

After the suicide of a veteran, families often encounter societal stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental health and suicide. This can exacerbate their feelings of isolation and prevent them from seeking help. By acknowledging the struggles faced by these families, we can break down the barriers of shame and provide them with the validation they need to start the healing process.

2. Addressing the Mental Health Impact

The mental health repercussions of losing a loved one to suicide can be profound and long-lasting. It is essential to provide mental health support services tailored specifically for veteran families. This can include counseling, therapy, support groups, and access to psychiatric care. By prioritizing mental health in postvention efforts, we can help mitigate the risk of further tragedies within these families.

3. Empowering Resilience and Coping Mechanisms

Veteran families need tools and resources to help them build resilience and develop effective coping mechanisms. Providing them with education and training on grief management, stress reduction techniques, and self-care strategies can equip them with the necessary skills to navigate the complex emotional landscape they find themselves in.

4. Strengthening Family Bonds and Communication

The aftermath of a veteran suicide can strain family relationships and communication. By fostering an environment of open dialogue and empathy, we can help family members better understand and support one another. Family therapy and relationship-building programs can play a pivotal role in strengthening these bonds and promoting healing within the family unit.

5. Ensuring Financial Stability

In addition to the emotional toll, the suicide of a veteran can also have significant financial implications for their family. Many families rely on the veteran’s income, and sudden loss can plunge them into financial distress. Offering financial assistance, job training programs, and educational scholarships can help mitigate the economic impact and provide a sense of stability for these families.

6. Collaborative Efforts and Community Support

Addressing the needs of veteran families after a suicide requires a comprehensive approach that involves collaboration between government agencies, mental health organizations, community support networks, and veteran service organizations. By working together, we can create a robust support system that ensures no family is left behind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Q: Is suicide among veterans preventable?

A: While it is challenging to predict and prevent all instances of suicide, taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to mental health, providing early intervention, and ensuring access to mental health resources can significantly reduce the risk of veteran suicide.

2. Q: How can society contribute to supporting veteran families after a suicide?

A: Society can contribute by fostering a supportive environment, breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, and actively engaging in suicide prevention efforts. Additionally, individuals can volunteer, donate to organizations that support veteran families, and educate themselves on mental health issues.

3. Q: Are there specific risk factors that make veterans more vulnerable to suicide?

A: Yes, several risk factors contribute to the increased vulnerability of veterans to suicide. These include combat exposure, PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, social isolation, and difficulty transitioning back to civilian life.

4. Q: How can schools and educational institutions support children of veterans affected by suicide?

A: Schools can create a safe and inclusive environment by implementing mental health programs, offering counseling services, and providing educational support tailored to the unique needs of these children. Additionally, educating teachers and staff about the challenges faced by veteran families can foster empathy and understanding.

5. Q: What role can the media play in raising awareness about the importance of supporting veteran families after a suicide?

A: The media plays a crucial role in shaping public perception and influencing societal attitudes. By reporting responsibly, highlighting personal stories, and focusing on the need for comprehensive support, the media can raise awareness and foster dialogue around this critical issue.

6. Q: How can veteran families access the support they need?

A: There are numerous organizations and resources available to assist veteran families. The Department of Veterans Affairs, local veterans’ service organizations, and mental health nonprofits often provide counseling services, support groups, and assistance with navigating the various support systems available.


The impact of veteran suicide extends far beyond the individual and profoundly affects their families. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by veteran families after a suicide is vital for their well-being and overall mental health. By providing comprehensive support systems, breaking down stigma, and fostering resilience and communication, we can help these families heal and navigate the difficult path towards recovery. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that no veteran family is left behind.

Patient Testimonials Does Ketamine IV Drip Therapy Work?

Patient Testimonials Does Ketamine IV Drip Therapy Work?

Excerpts From Real Patients on How Ketamine Therapy Worked For Them

Veteran suicide prevention takes many forms. Here at Once A Soldier we believe that micro dosing psychedelics in its many forms should get more attention and resources. The infrastructure is already in place with many clinics run by Veterans who are also certified nurse practitioners. Ketamine is also off-patent which makes it lower cost and widely available.

After four years listening to Veteran suicide survivors, we believe that Veteran suicide prevention has found a champion in micro dosing psychedelics or ketamine IV-drip therapy.

We’ve funded partial payments for Veterans and think that the time is right for the VA to move quickly to add this to their approved and covered treatments.

But don’t take our work for it. Here are some excepts from real patients:

ketamin iv drip

“I would say the most memorable experience was when I had a feeling of releasing negative thoughts and feelings about my body. I live with a chronic illness and used to wish that I wasn’t stuck in this body. I am at a place of acceptance now, and it is so much more peaceful.”


“I have complex PTSD, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I started taking SSRIs almost 18 years ago. Although the medication took away my anxiety, it left me feeling numb. Trying to taper off SSRIs is incredibly difficult. It takes months to taper down safely and the withdrawal is unbearable. I believe a lot of people find themselves in the same situation.”


It’s been a life changer. My military experiences stayed with me once I got out…I’m the last person to use drugs, but I’m so much happier and more connected now.


 “The first ketamine iv was pleasant, relaxing. I felt myself floating, as in the womb, with my umbilical cord attached to a Universal Source of Life. This was such a wonderful gift, since I was feeling an aloneness after the deaths of my mother and sister.”

“In the second one I felt my body waking up. There was movement: an abstract, pulsating, continuously changing, unfolding fractal. And I felt the joy of breathing! My rib cage had been twisted in the accident, and suddenly I felt that area come alive, my lungs inflate, the diaphragm relax. Yay! I’m regaining the flow of life.”

“In the third ketamine session, I re-connected to my laughter. I had felt rather rigid after the accident, had lost the feeling of music in my body. Now, in this infusion the music was not just in my ears, but inside my body, the piano keys tickling and waking up my spine.  Also, I sensed a silence and spaciousness between the notes of music. I felt myself laughing not only with those sensations, but with the very improbable and wonderfully strange complexity of Life itself. I felt my body dancing with rhythm flowing through me.”


Our thanks to the following websites for making their content available for this Once A Soldier blog:

Reset Ketamine

Three Stories For Three Years Working At Once A Soldier

Three Stories For Three Years Working At Once A Soldier

Their Stories Deserve Greater Awareness

With Congress, the VA, and major veteran service organizations all working to stop soldier suicide, our voice from the other side of preventions (postvention) is not as easily heard. Time will change that, but for now, we seem to be all that veteran families have in their time of need. As such, we hear the unfiltered messages of need and pain wrapped in the stories about what happened and why. The more people that hear these these stories, the faster the next family will get help.

I’ll start with the most recent family. From the midwest, Missouri. Mark killed himself in his car. He had just paid it off. His sister Teresa called the next day. Mark’s body was in the medical examiner’s office in St. Louis. Teresa said, “I don’t know what to do next.” Her voice sounded much older than her picture on Venmo looked. Teresa was able to pullcall despite that fact that she was in the middle of a crying jag.

She was still crying and short of breath. Mark was 58 years old. Ex-Marine. PTSD and alcoholism played a part in his life for I don’t know how many years. When those two problems are there, they are there for everyone around him. He was living with his parents. Teresa described them as having lost their mental awareness. They were; however, able to call the police and get the postvention ball rolling. 


Once A Soldier is the Nation’s Leading Time of Need Postvention Service Provider

Izzy ZaZa was living with her long-serving husband Robert in Arizona. He served in Afghanistan. He befriended a teenager who his unit hired as their interpreter in one village. His unit left and returned to find that teenaged boy hanging from a pole. Years later, Robert went into a bathroom at home to kill himself. Izzy followed him in and tried to stop him. She got shot through her left hand and fell back. Robert shot himself in the chest.

Finally, there’s Mickey Keeney. I have lots of pictures of him given to me by his sister. Two stick out in my mind. One is him pinning his son as he enters the Army. The other one, above, was taken two days before Mickey killed himself. He was completley alone in his PTSD pain and it shows. He killed himself on that same couch that he’s sitting on in the picture. His eyes as swollen as his face had become. Soon his pain would be over, and his families would move to a new level. 

With the promise of help from Representative Rutherford, we hope to bring these stories to life in the halls of Congress in 2021. Until then, we will continue to answer the calls and listen to their stories.