A chart posted by The Data Boys (IG: @thedataboys) recently made waves across social media as it compares the number of U.S. military deaths from 2001- 2021. The chart separated out the number of servicemembers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan against veteran suicides from all combat eras – past and present.

Source: @thedataboys

While the presentation and relatability of the information sparks some controversy and questions among the research community, it certainly sparks a palpable reaction among Americans to recognize that the number of veterans who’ve taken their life on home soil continues to far exceed lives lost on the battlefield. 

It does not have to be this way. 

The men and women who laced up in service to our country deserve to have access to the care they need – without shame, without stigma and without recourse for reaching out for help. At Boot Campaign, we see seeking help as a sign of strength. Despite the bravery and boldness our service members and veterans possess, there is still a disconnect when it comes to mental health.

That is why we continue to be all in around the message of YOU MATTER.

For centuries, U.S. forces have had boots on the ground around the world; some have bled and many have died. Some killed at the hand of the enemy and others by their own, succumbing to a war within once they returned home. Recent research shows that 4x the number of veterans have died by their own hand than were killed in the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

And still more struggle with both physical and visible wounds of war and other more silent marks of service that are not seen by the naked eye. All of them voluntarily accepted the inherent hazards of their profession, placing the welfare and security of others before their own. 

One thing all of us at Boot Campaign want veterans to hear: You matter, your service and sacrifice matters and it will not be forgotten, not now and not ever.