Military Suicide

By Fuzzy Manning

Suicide is a loss of hope and a cry for help. There's an inability to find words to describe the pain victims experience and a lack of compassionate listeners who won't be judgmental or prejudice. Our female and male active duty military personnel and our veterans are facing a different struggle on the battlefield and a new battle at home.

Collectively our battlefield heroes and our veterans took their own lives 20 times every day in 2010. That's one death every hour and 12 minutes. More than 45% of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with mental health issues, which are silent invisible wounds. Mental health is a serious and growing concern in the active duty and veteran community. The reality is that active duty personnel and veterans aren't receiving the help and treatment they deserve.

Some of the things that are feeding the military suicide crisis are:

Over 18% of soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan were diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and over 40% were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) caused by the impact of Improvised Explosive Devices(IED). They reported difficulties with attention, memory, behavior, and planning. They also experienced issues with depression, anxiety, and anger. They indicated that they felt like a different person.

Over 19,000 female and male soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and on military bases and duty stations around the world were sexually assaulted in 2010. The military's response was inadequate and ineffective. Victims don't feel the climate was safe to report the assaults. Perpetrators were not being pursued and brought to trial in sufficient numbers.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the Department of Defense (DOD) were put in place to protect and serve. Now they're denying both the protection and services for sexual assault victims.

Don't ask, don't tell is prevalent in the military. Don't tell anyone you have PTS, TBI, or that you have been sexually assaulted.

Four times as many men as women die by suicide in the US, even though women make more suicide attempts during their lives. Men use more lethal methods to commit suicide than those methods employed by women. The level of gun ownership worldwide is directly related to suicide rates. Suicide is directly tied to depression and men are less likely to seek treatment for depression or stress related issues. Twenty percent of 30,000 suicides in the US each year are committed by veterans.

Communities have a responsibility to welcome home all service personnel in whatever capacity, e.g., injured, POW, veteran, active duty. Those coming home need help with battle field closure, reconnection, mending invisible wounds, and healing hearts. It's clear that without community involvement, the burden that falls upon the families is too great. The impact of soaring suicide rates, drug addiction, spousal abuse, child neglect, and violence and anger related events have scarred neighborhoods and communities.

Fuzzy Manning invites you to visit and check out our resources.

Article Source: Military Suicide

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