There are few ironies that are more heartbreaking than the reality that many veterans survive being deployed to a combat zone only to come home and take their own life.
According to a 2019 Pentagon report¹ there are 24.8 suicides per 100,000 active duty service members and 30.6 suicides per 100,000 National Guard service members in 2018². By comparison, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health there were 14 suicides per 100,000 people in the general population in 2017³.
Protective Service Personnel
Another dark irony is that over twice as many law enforcement officers take their own lives as are killed in the line of duty⁴. Firefighters are also much more likely to complete suicide than die in the line of duty. A Runderman Family Foundation study estimates that firefighters are also twice as likely to die by suicide than they are in the line of duty. The prevalence of PTSD in firefighters has been estimated to be as high as 30%⁵. Research has clearly demonstrated that severe PTSD is a significant risk factor for completing suicide.
As the sobering statistics above show, better solutions are needed to combat PTSD and suicide in veterans and protective service personnel.
Ketamine infusion therapy and ketamine assisted psychotherapy can be very effective at treating severe depression and PTSD. In addition to its biochemical effects, ketamine creates a nonordinary state of consciousness that can help to change a person’s whole mental paradigm. On a very simplistic level, one can think of PTSD as being forced to listen to a radio station you hate. Traditional treatments only “turn down the volume.” Conversely, the ego disruption that can come with ketamine infusion therapy has the potential to “change the channel” and reset a patient’s cognitive framework. Klarisana Outreach is working to bring ketamine and other forward-leaning, progressive treatments to the veteran and protective service communities in order to break this destructive pattern of suicide.