We often hear about the tragic deaths of our soldiers, sailors and marines in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, but we don't often hear about the deaths that can happen after those service members get back home.
In 2012, 154 active duty service members have died as a result of suicide. That’s more than have been killed in Afghanistan.
Top officials from the US government met this week in Washington to see whether there's anything more they can do.
In Abington, a young veteran we spoke with says talking with fellow veterans has helped him.
“You're talking to a stranger, they're going to tell you ‘I know what you mean.’ But they really don't know what you mean,” said Kevin Deremeik of Harford County. “That would be like you telling your wife I know what you mean when she's having a baby. Well. You really don't know what she means.”
He comes to the VFW in Abington because the older veterans can relate to his combat tour as a US marine -- and what it was like to come home.
“You've just got the stresses of getting back into your normal every day, your normal life,” he said.
The suicide rate for active duty members of the US military is the highest it’s been since the war on terror started more than 10 years ago.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressed a conference on military suicides Friday in Washington.
“There are … no easy answers to the problem and the challenge of suicide,” he said. “But that is no damn reason for not finding the answers to the problem of suicide.”
Panetta said leaders at every level of the military must encourage troops and marines to seek help. Kevin Deremeik says he knows a marine who committed suicide.
“He was the quarter-man for the unit they had lost a couple guys and I guess he felt the guilt of it when he came home and he killed himself,” he said.
He hopes more young veterans might take the time to talk about what they've been through, with some of the only people in the world who can relate to it.
“Once you come home there's people that just can't integrate back into society right. So they're just still in that mindset of being overseas as opposed to, you're living amongst everybody that gets along,” he said.
The defense secretary said the end of the war in Iraq and a drawdown in Afghanistan could help lower the number of suicides, but he said more than half of the military members who committed suicide have no history of being deployed.
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