CHICAGO (CBS) — A City Council committee sought to shed light Wednesday on the growing problem of suicides among war veterans.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports there might not be much the City Council can do directly to help active-duty military personnel or veterans deal with post-traumatic stress, but the Human Relations Committee held a hearing Wednesday to hear ideas on strategies to identify the causes of suicide among veterans.
Ald. James Balcer (11th), a Vietnam War veteran, said such hearings serve a purpose.
“We are attempting to shed light on the important issue of how we can help educate veterans, their families, and loved ones to help prevent suicides,” he said.
Balcer and fellow Ald. George Cardenas (12th), a Navy veteran, said they want veterans to know help is available, and urge family members to help them find it.
“I don’t think enough attention is being put. When you come out of the trauma that has been inflicted on you, what exactly happened? What did you go through?” he said.
Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th), who chairs the committee, said the number of military suicides was alarming in 2012.
“There were about 349 suicides among active-duty personnel. That’s almost one a day,” he said.
Aldermen want to f
Jim Frazier, an survivor outreach coordinator for the U.S. Army, said his job is to work with veterans’ families after tragedies, and he’s seeing more suicides than anything else these days.
“The first thing that I get is ‘Why? Why did this happen? Why did my son or my daughter do this? What did we miss?’” Frazier said.
In four years on the job, Frazier said he’s never found a good answer.