Service Dogs & Veteran Support: Tackling the 6,205 Annual Suicides Head-On

Posted on: in [ Clients in Need, General, News ]

Illustration of a silhouetted Veteran standing at the edge of a cliff, looking out at a sunrise, symbolizing hope and a new beginning.

The Stark Reality: Veteran Suicide Statistics and the Path Forward

As the world progresses, it becomes ever more crucial to address issues that plague our heroes. Veterans, who've sacrificed so much for our freedom, unfortunately, face numerous challenges upon returning home, one of which is the alarming rate of suicide. Drawing from reputable government sources like the Department of Military Affairs, Veteran Affairs, and the Department of Mental Health, this post sheds light on the gravity of the situation and emphasizes the role of Service Dogs in mitigating these challenges.

Current Statistics: A Call for Immediate Action

In recent years, the challenges faced by active duty personnel and veterans have garnered significant attention. A staggering finding from 2021 revealed that "30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who served in the military after 9/11 have died by suicide," a number that's notably higher than the "7,057 service members killed in combat in those same 20 years." Disturbingly, this means that military suicide rates are four times higher than combat-related deaths during this period (USO, 2021).

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the number of Veteran suicides remains alarmingly high, with an average of 17 Veterans taking their own lives each day, amounting to a staggering 6,205 suicides annually. Such figures are not mere numbers but represent real individuals who've faced the horrors of war and grappled with its aftermath. These statistics underscore the urgency of addressing mental health concerns among our Veterans, as well as finding innovative solutions to aid their transition back into civilian life.

Service Dogs: More Than Just Companions

Recent findings highlight an increasingly popular and effective intervention: the use of Service Dogs. These specially trained canines provide both emotional and physical support to Veterans, especially those diagnosed with PTSD. Their constant presence has proven to be a lifesaver for many, offering comfort during anxiety attacks, night terrors, or when navigating crowded spaces. The Department of Mental Health recently released new regulations, emphasizing the importance of these dogs and ensuring that Veterans have easier access to them.

Moreover, Service Dogs are not just for emotional support. Many Veterans with physical disabilities have found increased mobility and independence with their canine companions. These dogs are trained to assist with tasks such as opening doors, retrieving items, turning on light switches, pushing push plates to open doors, bracing to allow a Veteran easier access to stand, and pulling a wheelchair. 

Photo of diverse hands holding onto a rope, pulling together, representing the collective effort to support and uplift Veterans.

Join the Cause: Support Retrieving Freedom, Inc.

While the benefits of Service Dogs are undeniable, the process of training and matching them with Veterans requires significant resources. Organizations like Retrieving Freedom, Inc. are at the forefront of this mission, ensuring that every Veteran in need has a specially trained Service Dog by their side. However, they need our support.

If you're moved by the plight of our Veterans and recognize the transformative role of Service Dogs, consider donating to Retrieving Freedom, Inc. Your contribution can change a Veteran's life, giving them not just a companion, but a new lease on life.

To join the fight, and help put a stop to Veteran suicide, donate today!



USO. (2021). Military suicide rates are at an all-time high: Here's how we're trying to help. Retrieved from

Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022). 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.