This is an assignment I did for school.

The title of my article that I selected for this Current Events project is, “The Uncounted.”  Ashley Fantz for CNN wrote this.  It is an interactive article posted on  There are also video profiles and they are by Nick Scott.  I will be writing about this series over the next few weeks for Current Events and also posting them on my website at

I decided to write about this topic as a way to educate people about this growing crisis.  Every day, 22 United States Military Veterans commit suicide.  These are the very same individuals who risk their lives for the safety of this nation. These are the very same people who are deployed time and time again for years on end in service to our nation.  These are the very same people who are our neighbors and they need our help.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Defense Department, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are intensely analyzing the mortality statistics of the military and the suicide rates of civilians.  They are performing this analysis with the goal of finding out how military rates compare with suicide rate in the general population.  This project will take approximately one year and it is difficult to do as the “military population is ever-changing as people enter and leave the service.” The focus of CNN’s report, the military spouses, siblings, and parents are not currently being tracked for suicidality.  Thus, they are the “Uncounted.”

According to the National Military Family Association, Blue Star Families advocated for tracking. The National Military Family Association is the largest military advocacy group.  In 2012 this important group surveyed 5,100 of its members.  The findings included the fact that that “9% of military spouses reported that they had considered suicide.”  Nearly a quarter responded that they had not sought any help. Imagine being in a seemingly helpless, desperate, hopeless situation in which you might not find a path out of the deep pit of sorrow.  Having empathy for the Blue Star and also Gold Star Families, and especially the ones who suffer from depression or despair, is vital. What is going on off of the battlefield may just be the “true cost of war.”

Over 2 million Americans have served our nation in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many continue their fight after they come home.  They fight the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.  According to Dr. Stephen Cozza with the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, “Researchers estimate that as many as 300,000 service members may meet criteria for PTSD and between 200,000 and 300,000 have suffered a traumatic brain injury from mild to severe.”  According to the RAND Corporation, a think-tank, one-third of veterans likely suffer from TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), PTSD, or depression and this brings the overall number to approximately 600,000.  Not only that, research has linked PTSD and suicidal behavior.

A chart is cited in the article that is very important to the theme. The number of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line between 2008 and 2013 increased. A graph showed that in 2008, 67,350 people called the Veterans Crisis Line.  4,517 of them were families or friends of veterans.  In 2009, 118, 984 people called the hotline.  Of those, 7,553 were friends and families.  In 2010, 134,528 called the hotline.  Of those, 9,925 were friends and family members.  In 2011, 164,101 people called the hotline. Of those, 12,221 were friends and family.  In 2012, 193,507 people called the hotline.  Of those, 17,397 were friends and family members.  In 2013, 287,051 people called the hotline.  Of those, 28,713 were friends and family members.

I will continue to write about this issue in the next Current Events project as this is an ongoing crisis.  The “Uncounted” is a four part interactive series. I will write about the next group of people profiled, the parents, in my next report.   I urge you to learn more about this issue as it effects not only the Military Families, but it is a growing health care issue.   Please visit The Uncounted for more information.


I did not mention the names of the people profiled by CNN.  As I read about them and their struggles, I was touched and this moved me to action. Reading their stories inspired me to inform you about the volumes of people who are in need of our support.  Just by reading the article and hearing their stories, this will hopefully encourage you to be moved in some way.

Your Neighbor,


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