Martin C. Evans

Archive for the ‘veterans’ Category

Unemployment higher among recent vets

In veterans on February 6, 2010 at 12:22 am

Bad news if you joined the military to get job skills: Unemployment has hit recent vets even harder than it has regular civilians, according to the most recent U.S. Labor Department data .

Although the jobless rate for all Americans edged down to 9.7 percent last month, it was at 12.6 percent for vets who have served since 2001.

Ex-Marine Mike Carrol, 29, and his family were homeless for almost a year until the Manhattan resident got help from a non-profit veterans agency. (Photo: NY Daily News)

The higher-than-average jobless rate for recent vets may be a reflection of the difficulty facing younger job seekers in general. The jobless rate for Americans 20-24 is an above-average 15.8 percent.

Still, that may be little consolation to military recruits who were lured by recruiters’ promises of high-paying job skills, but who now stand in line at unemployment offices.

The jobs picture was particularly bad for women who served post-9/11. Their unemployment rate hit 14.2 percent in January, up from 10.9 percent a year earlier. For men, January’s unemployment rate rose from 8.9 percent last year to 12.6 percent now.

Analysts say military service may make it more difficult for veterans to find work once they return to the civilian world.

They say employers may be wary of hiring personnel who may eventually display antisocial behaviors linked to post traumatic stress disorder. Vets may be hurt by spending years away civilian job networking. And soldiers accustomed to military routine have often chafed in workplace environments where civilian employees seem undisciplined and self-absorbed.

Young vets’ suicides surge

In veterans on January 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

Eighteen veterans kill themselves every day.

Suicides among veterans under 30 years old jumped by 26 percent in a two-year period.

One in five suicides in America claim the life of a veteran.

A 2008 exhibit in Kansas City used 34 pairs of white boots to depict Missouri's Iraq/Afghanistan vet suicides

These alarming facts were revealed Monday by former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, Secretarty of the Department of Veterans Affairs, at a suicide prevention conference in Washington.

Shinseki spoke at the 2nd Annual DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference, which is geared toward finding out why there are so many military-related suicide deaths what can be done to prevent them.

“As I’ve often asked, mostly of myself, but also of others from time to time, why do we know so much about suicides but so little about how to prevent them?” Shinseki asked.

Health professionals say the stress of multiple tours of duty and the increasing reliance on National Guard troops mostly unaccustomed to year-long deployments away from home are leaving many soldiers psychologically devastated. Last year, a Rand Corporation report said one in five Iraq or Afghanistan veterans suffered from post traumatic stress disorder or major depression.

Officials at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Northport claim there have been relatively few suicides among its clinical patients.

Northport’s chief of psychiatry, Dr. Charlene Thomesen, said there were no suicides during fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, four in fiscal 2008 and three in fiscal 2007.

But her figures reflect only deaths confirmed as suicides and reported by family members to Northport officials, making it likely that other suicides were never recorded in the medical center’s statistics.

Suicides appear to be rising among active duty soldiers as well. There were 147 reported suicides in the Army from January through November last year, compared to 127 in the same period of 2008, according to the DOD.

In the DOD report, released last month, reported suicides among non-active duty reserve soldiers thorough November 2009 had also far eclipsed the total suicides in all of 2008 – 71 for the first 11 months of 2009 versus 50 for the 12 months of 2008.