NEW SURVEY: 37 Percent of Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans Reported Knowing Service Member Who Died From Suicide

Survey Gives Glimpse Into Minds of Recent Veterans

by James Dao
New York Times, March 26, 2012

The 2012 edition of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s annual survey of its members came out on Monday (March 26). The largest such survey by the group to date, its results provide some interesting insights into what’s on the minds of recent veterans today.

A new survey of 4,278 veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq reveals numerous challenges in their lives after serving in the military. Unemployment, divorce, mental health care and suicide were cited as problematic in the survey.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that employment, mental health, disability benefits, health care, education (including the G.I. Bill), suicide and families — in that order — were the top concerns of the more than 4,200 members who responded.

Nearly 17 percent said they were unemployed when they took the survey in January, a higher rate than was documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which put the veterans’ unemployment rate for January at 9 percent.

Of those who are working, 37 percent said they worked for the government at some level, far outpacing the second largest industry listed, health care and pharmaceuticals, which tallied 8 percent.

Similarly, of those looking for work, the largest group, about a quarter, said they wanted to find jobs in government.

In its summary of the survey, I.A.V.A. noted that because many local, state and federal agencies have been trimming their work forces, “the threat to veteran employment may grow.”

More than one in three respondents, 37 percent, said they knew someone who had committed suicide, down slightly from last year’s result.

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Read the entire report:

Survey highlights:
• Near 17% reported being unemployed
• 49% of unemployed members did not feel that employers were open to hiring veterans
• 37% knew someone they served with or another Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who had died from suicide
• More than 65% did not think troops and veterans are getting the care they need for mental health
• 31% had divorced or broke up with a long-term partner as a result of deployment and the return home
• Of those with children, 25% said a child had emotional problems, or problems in school (24%)
• 60% thought the military and DoD are doing a good job of reaching out to troops with mental health injuries
• 49% said the VA is doing a good job of reaching out to troops with mental health injuries
• 75% did not think Congress listens to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans enough; 61% for President Obama


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