In 2016, the Veterans Administration (V.A.) reported that after adjusting for age and gender, the suicide rate for Veterans was 1.5 times greater than for non-Veteran adults.[1] Their study showed 30 out of every 100,000 veterans took their own lives.

Many warriors view meaningful discussions about mental health and suicide as a sign of weakness. For every veteran that killed themselves, there are countless more that stopped short. Using photography and documented discussions, I want to explore those reasons why someone contemplated but did not commit suicide and create an opportunity for dialogue between veterans about the issue.

Each participating veteran provided picture(s) of their choosing from their time in service. They also shared their thoughts and experiences dealing with suicidal thoughts. The veteran's own stories inspired each of the photos that I created.

Because suicide is a very personal act and thought process, each image is a collaboration inspired by the veteran's own story.

“By Their Own Hand” is a long-term project that culminates in a book for sharing with veteran organizations, veteran families, current service members, and veteran mental health resources.

This project is about offering a platform for veterans to talk about suicide in the hopes that one less takes place.

[1] V.A. National Suicide Data Report 2005–2016, pg.5

If you are interested in taking part or would like to offer support please email me at [email protected]