A study recently revealed that around 22 US veterans take their own lives every day – the equivalent of one suicide every 65 minutes.
This shocking statistic has been explored by photographer Devin Mitchell in an extraordinary photo series titled the Veteran Vision Project. His newest shots document the lives of those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mr Mitchell - who used the portraits for his senior thesis project, and who plans to turn it into a book to raise money for humanitarian aid projects, which he’s funding on Kickstarter - travelled around America interviewing veterans inside their homes.
In addition to PTSD, he also explored the issue of sexual assault following an annual US military study, which found that around 26,000 men and women are the victims of sexual trauma in the armed forces, with 86 per cent of cases going unreported.
Mr Mitchell asked the veterans who agreed to take part in the project to choose props, and to decide who they wanted to appear alongside them in the portraits. He said it was designed to show how they sought to make sense of living with the condition.
Mr Mitchell told BuzzFeed News that it was an "intimate experience". “Sometimes people will make me dinner, sometimes I’ll spend time meeting their parents, sitting in their kitchens, talking with them about life," he said.
He said he wanted to raise awareness of about the veteran community, as well as allowing his subjects to experience some therapeutic rewards. "It makes visible what they feel," he added.
He also discovered that an overwhelming proportion of veterans had been affected by suicide - either themselves or someone close to them.
One of the subjects who appears in a video associated with the project, Jared Comini, said poignantly: "Suicide is something I struggle with. I don’t [choose suicide] because of my family, and my friends that don’t get to live. I keep going for them.”
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