To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide is a very raw word wrapped in a plethora of sensitive emotions.  The subject has been touched upon twice here on Words For Warriors. Once by me in the post, How Words Saved A Life and once by Ben in his post, Companion To Honor.
The suicide rate among military personnel has risen, and continues to rise at an alarming rate. In recognition of the rising suicide rate the Army expanded National Suicide Prevention Week, September 12th through the 18th to National Suicide Prevention Month.  The website for Department Of Defense Health System posted a variety of resources for Commanding Officers, Friends, Family, along with the Suicide Hotline for those who need immediate help.
The United States has been at War for 10 years, our longest War to date. This translates into multiple deployments, increasing stress.  With large volumes of artillery and IED's being used in Iraq and Afghanistan Traumatic Brain Injuries and PTSD numbers are increasing. These are all major stress factors that can lead to suicide.
It is my personal opinion that military suicides due to the stress of War, should be considered a casualty of war.  After all, it was the experiences and stress of War that pushed the individual to suicide. I look at it like this, if a person who dies due to an IED they are considered a casualty of war, whether they die on foreign soil or US soil. Why then wouldn't someone who is injured with Traumatic Brain Injury or PTSD also be considered a casualty of war? The lack of means to recognize, diagnose, or understand a condition doesn't make it any less a reality.  (I would like to note, I am by no means condoning suicide.)
I believe José Narosky said it best when he said, "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." Just because someone has all of their arms and legs, does not mean there is not a wound that needs healing. Hopefully the military's recent efforts to help those who need it will lead to less suicides.
As a civilian, I feel like there is not enough recognition of this problem. It leads me to John F. Kennedy's words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." We have brave men and women to thank for protecting our country, isn't it time we asked ourselves what we can do for them? 


Spockgirl said...

This morning somewhere before 10AM, I was once again thinking on this very subject. It has actually been plaguing me for several months, but this morning I decided how I could approach it on my blog. Now I just have to do it.

Kristina Divine said...

Spockgirl~ It is interesting how we are so very different, yet continue to think about the same subjects around the same time. I look forward to reading your post and hearing your ideas on this sensitive subject.