Veteran Kyleanne Hunter explained survivor’s guilt and the importance of including suicide in conversations about gun violence. The majority of gun deaths are by suicide in the U.S. and she wants others to know how that can change.
“Survivor’s guilt is something that so many of us who have come back from war feel,” she said. “It’s this feeling that we made it home and our friends didn’t.”
Hunter served combat deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan. She says the first close friend she lost in overseas was very painful and she questioned for months why he died and she hadn’t. After coming back to the Sates, she said she contemplated suicide but fortunately had people around who recognized she was struggling and encouraged her to get help.
Approximately 20 veterans die by suicide in the U.S. every day, and approximately 2/3 of them use a gun. Two Parkland students and a Sandy Hook father also died by suicide in March 2019.
“Gun violence doesn’t stop when the bullets stop flying,” Hunter said. “There are ripple effects from tragedies.”
Attempted suicide by gun results in death 85% of the time compared to just 3% for other methods, which is why Hunter wants to educate people about speaking up.
“We know that the vast majority of suicide attempts take place within the first hour of somebody contemplating it and anything that is done to break that chain of thought is proven to prevent suicide.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.