US Army tweet prompts painful responses from war veterans
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US Army tweet prompts painful responses from war veterans

The US Army issued the tweet during Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the US which honors the military personnel who perished while serving in the US armed forces. Among the thousands of responses included harrowing tales of depression, sexual assault and PTSD. Others posted stories of illness and suicide brought on by experiences ranging from seeing loss of life to sexual assaults in the military. One veteran responded, "How did serving impact me? Ask my family." He wrote of a "Combat Cocktail" which included "PTSD, severe depression, anxiety. Isolation. Suicide attempts. Never ending rage." Responses to the US Army's Twitter post now number more than 11,000. In addition to PTSD, another common theme on Twitter was reports of sexual assault while serving in the military. Another female veteran wrote about sexual assault along with suffering from depression and anxiety. One male wrote that "my wife and I served in the @USArmy. We spent over 5 years geographically separated from each other." Others wrote of family members, relatives and friends who had ended their lives during or after their service in the military. On the same day, the US Army also posted a tweet with a link and phone number for the Veterans Crisis Line. There are nearly 20 million veterans in the US and 20 die by suicide every day, 1.5 times the rate of civilians, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A VA report last year found that over 6,000 veterans have died by suicide each year from 2008 to 2016.

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