Tag Archives: depression

8,030 people dead!

No, they were not killed by a terrible natural disaster.  They were not killed in tragic accidents.  They were not killed in combat or in the line of duty.  They were veterans that took their own lives!

According to a 2012 Veterans Administration report 22 veterans committed suicide each day.  This is an alarming number of suicides considering the small segment of the population.  This number is almost double that for all U.S. military killed in Iraq, 4,486 (2003-2012).

Active duty service members are also taking their own lives in alarming numbers.  This despite the ever increasing mental health resources deployed and available throughout the services.

U.S. veterans are not only at risk.  According to a BBC report, more British Soldiers took their own lives then were killed in combat in Afghanistan during the same time period.

The CDC reports that the U.S. civilian population suicide rate has steadily increased from 1999-2010.  The greatest increase is in the age range 50-64. (About a 49% increase).

The veteran population has a suicide rate roughly double that of the general population!  For Veterans 30 per 100,000 people; for the civilian population: 14 per 100,000.

There is a lot of speculation as to why the rates are increasing in both the civilian population and veterans.   Some researchers think that the breakdown in community and an increased sense of isolation—yes, even in this electronic age—is contributing to the increase. 

The Huffington post article points out in the 1980-90’s the military had a significantly lower rates in divorce, drug abuse and suicide then the civilian population.  At that time, the report says, military communities were much tighter.

During my service (2002-2010) I saw a significant decline in the social community of the military.  I am sure the war efforts contributed to this decline.  Perhaps people withdrawing and hiding behind technology contributed as well.

This decline in esprit de corps is not the key factor that has led to the alarming increase in suicide among service members, veterans and civilians.  It may play a role or be a symptom.  It is a complex topic that is affecting an increasing number of people.

In the military, most that commit suicide are already receiving care for mental health.  The military and VA have increased access to care significantly over the last decade—but the numbers keep climbing.  They are also climbing in the civilian world. 

There are mixed reports connecting PTSD and suicide.  But there seems to be a general consensus that this is a contributing factor.  In our next podcast we will address this specific issue.

What do you think?

What can we do to start reversing these numbers among civilian, military and veterans?

Join the conversation!

Need help!  This is a list of crisis lines for several countries:


Some other interesting articles and references to fuel the conversation:

004 Questioning God


DopamineseratoninIn today’s episode we will:

1. We will explore the struggle that can arise in faith as a result of trauma.  We will consider the question: Is it OK to question God?  If so, how?


2. We will take a look at light…

  •  Does light really have the power to change our brains?
  • Impact of light on sleep problems, depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and possible connections to PTSD care.

Jumping right into our main topic for today: Questioning God

  •  Does God mind if we question him?
  •  What about doubts?
  •  What about people of faith from times past?
  • Consider Psalm 77 – He boldly expressed his concerns and…

 Science and the Brain:  In the light…

– Does light really have the power to impact and even change what is going on in our brains?

  •  Serotonin: important brain chemical – clear thinking, emotion control, sleep…
  •  How can we make more serotonin?
  •  How can we have our brains release it so that
  • Taking a walk in the daylight — even on a cloudy day. 
  •  Tryptophan: something you need to eat in order for your brain to make serotonin
  •   Extra Cautions…
  • > If you are on medication that can affect who your body responds to light.
  • > Too much UV light?  How much is too much for your skin and eyes? (ask your Doc.)
  • > You are already taking an antidepressant medication (SSRI or MAO) or other medication that affects your brain chemistry.
  • > Light/Skin/Eye sensitivity or problems

 Some “Light and Brain” Info:

 – How does a lack of sun affect us?, Science Channel – http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/affects-of-lack-of-sun

– Boosting Your Serotonin Activity, Psychology Today –  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201111/boosting-your-serotonin-activity

– Discovering Light Effects on the Brain, The American Journal of Psychiatry –  http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=96553

– Study suggests bright light therapy may improve sleep and brain function post mild TBI,  http://www.news-medical.net/news/20130601/Study-suggests-bright-light-therapy-may-improve-sleep-and-brain-function-post-mild-TBI.aspx

– Can light make us bright? Effects of light on cognition and sleep. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21531248

– Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain, Lancet –  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12480364

– Unraveling the Sun’s Role in Depression, WebMD http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20021205/unraveling-suns-role-in-depression


(NOTE: The following links are provided by way of reference only.  There are many resources available on the web and some may contain differing views, facts and opinions.  This podcast, and HART does not endorse any of the authors, their views or products.  This is only a sample of articles that you may find helpful.  Always investigate for yourself.  Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes that could impact your health.]

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