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.