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Tue Jun 1, 2021, 09:54 AM

Iowa delegation tries again to address military suicides

From the earliest Memorial Day observances organized by freed slaves following the Civil War, this holiday has focused on remembering military service members who died in wars. More than 26,700 Iowans have died in wartime service, with the Civil War accounting for nearly half of the fatalities.

Far too many Americans with military backgrounds die by their own hands. Hundreds of active-duty troops and more than 6,000 veterans take their own lives every year. That death toll exceeds the total U.S. military fatalities in Iraq from 2003 to 2020.

Iowa’s members of Congress have tried again this spring to improve mental health services for veterans. Unlike in previous years, legislation named after Sergeant Brandon Ketchum made it through the U.S. House and now awaits action in the Senate.

Ketchum did two tours in Iraq as a Marine and later deployed to Afghanistan with the Iowa National Guard. He was discharged for medical reasons in 2013 and struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse. While living in Davenport in July 2016, he sought inpatient psychiatric care at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Iowa City. Inpatient detox rooms were full, so Ketchum was sent home and advised to continue outpatient care, even though his case file showed he had already made two suicide attempts. He took his own life the next morning.

Read more: https://www.bleedingheartland.com/2021/05/31/iowa-delegation-tries-again-to-address-military-suicides/

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