Battleland

Suicide’s Twin Challenges

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It has been a tough couple of months, burrowing into the challenge of military suicides…and repeatedly coming up empty-handed. My editors seemed like Pete Chiarelli when he became the Army’s No. 2 officer nearly five years ago: determined to find a way to halt suicide in the ranks, and frustrated when it proved to be so elusive. It becomes crystal clear that the military folks at the tip of this particular spear are fighting the good fight, but too often ending up face down on the mat.

There seem to be two keys: stigma must be erased, and, when it is, there must be adequate resources to fill the desperate need that someone trending toward taking his or her own life is experiencing now. Rajiv Srinivasan, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, writes eloquently over at the Time Ideas blog about that first challenge: knocking down the soldier’s mindset of sucking-it-up, self-reliance, and a reluctance to seek help.

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RobinNemeth
RobinNemeth

Maybe when it becomes clear to you Mr. Thompson – as I

believe it’s become clear to them – that they are NOT fighting the good

fight,

maybe then you won’t come up empty handed. Our  government is currently

engaged in genocide. Genocide is what our soldiers now support. And when

I attempted to speak about the vaccine program at my son in laws

'deployment party', I was told I had to shut up or I wasn't welcome.

Don't worry about the veterans. Oh sure they're more dangerous than your

average  autism mom; they have weapons and know how to use them. But

there are medications, I'm quite sure, that will keep the ones who don't

commit suicide in their place. Do you think that I'm supposed to care

about the pain that these soldiers and their families have experienced?

Why? Because they're my fellow Americans? The Bruesewitz versus Wyeth

ruling by the supreme court cleared me up as to the status of my rights

as an American citizen. No, I don't give a rat's rear end about their

pain. Let them can ask their Pshrinks and their Gods the Doctors for

help.

RobinNemeth
RobinNemeth

Maybe when it becomes clear to you Mr. Thompson – as I

believe it’s become clear to them – that they are NOT fighting the good fight,

maybe then you won’t come up empty handed. Our  government is currently engaged in genocide. Genocide is what our soldiers now support. And when I attempted to speak about the vaccine program at my son in laws 'deployment party', I was told I had to shut up or I wasn't welcome. Don't worry about the veterans. Oh sure they're more dangerous than your average  autism mom; they have weapons and know how to use them. But there are medications, I'm quite sure, that will keep the ones who don't commit suicide in their place. Do you think that I'm supposed to care about the pain that these soldiers and their families have experienced? Why? Because they're my fellow Americans? The Bruesewitz versus Wyeth ruling by the supreme court cleared me up as to the status of my rights as an American citizen. No, I don't give a rat's rear end about their pain. Let them can ask their Pshrinks and their Gods the Doctors for help.

 

LastWaltz
LastWaltz

bobdebarb:  I agree with you - caring is just not there.  We wrote a letter to SECDEF on June 14, 2012 because the reprisal has been so overwhelming we are not sure we can keep it together anymore.  We received a call last Thursday from an investigator at the DOD IG Hotline who said they accepted our complaint based on a referral from the SECDEF/our Congressman.   Maybe Panetta really is the right person at the right time.  Chiarelli was too little too late plus he was active duty.  He should have resigned his commission in protest of the Army's handling of suicides. And we agree with you on another point - we told the IG investigator we were thrown out along with the military members like yesterday's garbage. Same comparison you used.

88VET
88VET

I am a V.A.WhistlerBlower(Victim) and have been Harassed for reporting it.I am a 100% service connected disabled vet.perm. with Depression with P.T.S.D.,In 88' I was encouraged by my Military Psyh.(doc) to do bodly harm to myself.In 2006 my V.A. counselor provoked me to kill myself and I did, I was put in the Hospital for a week. I wrote to the President and 2 Senators about.They authorized the V.A. to Harass and Intimidate me.Shame on All of You.I Lived.

88VET
88VET

I am a 100% service connected disabled vet.perm. with Depression and P.T.S.D. ,I tried to do bodly harm to myself in 88'in the Army,it was encouraged by the military psyh.(doc).I did a suicide attempt in 2006 it was provoked intentionally my the V.A. Socialworker counselor,I was hospitalized a week for it

LastWaltz
LastWaltz

Time reporter Mark Thompson has been in the forefront of reporting Army suicides for years.  He deserves some kind of special Nobel journalism award if there is one.   We have been involved too but on a different plane - we were just thinking yesterday - we feel like prisoners of war in the Army Suicides War - because we are whistleblowers.  Retaliation has been like a constant shelling and only let up a little late this week when we received a surprise phone call from D.C.

LastWaltz
LastWaltz

How can the Army sell and recruit with all the bad suicide publicity?  Just think if the coverage is expanded.  That is how the Pentagon thinks.

Guest
Guest

 I don't think the Army cares. It already has more personnel than it can handle, and is looking to cut more. If and when sequestration hits the impact on the individual soldier will be catastrophic (not saying whether it is right or wrong, just that it will be devastating). You will take a bunch of mentally damaged kids, with little or no real skills, and release them into this economy with no prospects for the future. They will be tossed aside like so much garbage.

Guest
Guest

PTSD has a very specific set of diagnostic criteria. Someone may be sad, down, depressed, even suicidal, but not be diagnosed as having PTSD. And yet, according to the military, the only really "okay" diagnosis to have is PTSD. If the military would make depression as acceptable as PTSD then more people would get help and the suicide rate would drop. But right now, PTSD is a rite of passage, whereas if you are depressed then you are just weak.

DHMazur
DHMazur

The Army has been reluctant to consider the most systemic causes of its rising suicide rate.  The Army is much too small for the tasks it has been assigned, yet the military and its civilian leaders insist they have all the people they need.  The bottom line is that the all-volunteer concept is undermining the military and those who serve in uniform.

Even with its artificially small size (rounded out with as many or more civilian contractors), the military struggles to meet its recruiting goals without cutting corners.  The Army is digging deeper into a dwindling slice of America, and inevitably it enlists a greater number of young people who are more fragile and disaffected at the start.  It should not be hard to foresee problems when they become part of an organization already under great stress.

The Army needs to stop propping up the current all-volunteer concept and concede that it is not working well.  It needs to speak up and admit that it does not have enough people to be able to use them fairly, leaving enough time for rest, recovery, rehabilitation, training, and education.  It needs to speak up and admit it does not have nearly enough mental health and medical professionals.  At a minimum, we should consider a draft for medical professionals or different incentives to draw them into service.

The military loves to describe itself as different and distinct from America, but that kind of appeal is not healthy for the institution.  A military that is more representative of America would be better able to sustain itself under stress.

A former Air Force officer and author of "A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger"

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/...

themilitarysuicidereport
themilitarysuicidereport

I have a very difficult time understanding how the decision makers at this well-respected news magazine could think this report was a good candidate for "subscribers only."

There are certain issues that should be provided to the national audience unrestricted; the current epidemic of military suicides among our sons and daughters certainly is one of them.

I sincerely hope the folks on the business side of this matter will reconsider in the name of compassion.

Delivering this important report to the widest audience possible will save some precious lives at a time when it seems a very difficult task to accomplish.

I hope others who read this post will agree and join me in petitioning leaders at Time and its parent company to provide this important report to all who might take the time to read about it and become informed to this national tragedy. 

Really, this is not a good time to restrict any coverage of military suicides to "subscribers only."

sherylcornelius
sherylcornelius

In 1980 John P. Wilson published a 3 year study of Vietnam veterans predicting that "Vietnam veterans with unresolved postwar issues (before PTSD had a name) will face a Critical Time in Later Life Stage. This would have been good information to have when my husband, a Vietnam vet of 68-69 had PTSD come after him with a vengeance in 2008. 4 months of "treatment" frm VAMC in OKC and he shot and killed himself. The groundbreaking study explains clinically, but compassionately what happens to the psyche of soldiers, especially young ones. Add that to the historic overmedicating by the VA after the typical 15 minute "drive-thru"m

sherylcornelius
sherylcornelius

Overmedicating by the VA with NO APROPRIATE MONITORING of te veterans was Dr. Peter Breggins testimony to the Senate in Feb. 2010. I have begged the VAMC in OKC to set up a "Safety Net" for mental health veterans using contacts of people they provide and approve. Also, if a veteran is sick enough to warrant using a pychotropic drug, then they should be treated as such, instead of with the urgency of foot fungus


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