Sunday, October 25, 2015

Veterans and Suicide

Since the world wars when medicine and protective gear had started improving more soldiers have been sent home alive, but with heavy consequences of war. PTSD is especially high in soldiers and in some cases like that of the Seventh Marine Regiment so are suicide rates. Due to losing 20 men in combat since 2008 it has lost over 13 more to suicide and has an average suicide rate 14 times that of the average American.

Although the argument remains that "the risk was known", and they "have a chance to come home" it is not that simple. I am not calling for an immediate end of all wars (which would be nice but unrealistic). Yet I would hope that with numbers these high there be some type of safeguard or reforms to help combat this soldiers epidemic. Furthermore many times the military is romanticized to young men and women who wish to be "army strong" and do not realize how deeply it could change their outlook on the world to loose an arm, leg, friends, or who do not know the risks of mental illness among soldiers.

With Veterans Day approaching I would like to call attention to the hardships our US soldiers go through and I would like to ask what type of reforms do you think could help this problem? Also I ask for a moment of silence for those who have fallen protecting us or those who have fallen to mental illness due to their involvement in the military.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Monika for your original post. PTSD is a never-ending loop since the disorder essentially blocks the soldier from having/remembering happy moments and, with the absence of joy, pushes the soldier deeper into a depression-like state.

It is interesting to note that the cost to train soldiers exceed (by far) the amount of money spent to assimilate soldiers back to society; thus, I believe that the way we help soldiers become integrated into society once more should be reformed. Some may believe that the schools that train soldiers need to be more selective in picking people who are both physically and mentally strong; however, with the extremely low admissions to these schools and the criterium that admission officers look through suggest that the people selected are capable. The problem then must be what happens at the end of the soldier's service, further developing my belief.

In the following article, it talks about the Army's mental health services:
Do you think that the Army provides enough mental health services? Is there another type of reform that would lower suicide rates? To what extent is this problem just a fact of human cognition and behavior given the circumstances?

Jessica Yeh said...

I definitely agree with Justin's comment. While the government does have services to provide veterans with assistance, these sources are not always readily available or as accessible as they should be. Often, it is up to the veterans themselves to seek out help, and as the link in Justin's comment about the army explains, over half of army veterans with PTSD do not receive any care since there is also a stigma against reaching out for help. I believe that it should be a responsibility for the federal government to provide more funding to assist these veterans as they have already served the country. Programs should be funded that do more to reach out to the veterans.

PTSD also contributes to issues like the high numbers of homeless veterans. Though government funding can help many of these homeless veterans, nonprofit and community organizations are crucial in assisting homeless and at-risk veterans with PTSD. The US Department of Veterans Affairs does and should do more to work in conjunction with such organizations.

Appropriating more money to the Department of Veterans Affairs may not be completely likely, but ideally, more emphasis should be placed on reaching out to veterans to hopefully reduce suicide rates.

Anonymous said...

I agree with both Justin and Jessica. Although there are many organizations out there to help veterans, sources truly are limited. I believe that the government should play a key role in helping integrate soldiers back in society since they truly are the ones fighting for our country, and putting their lives at risk. Although they have helped the lives of many, I truly believe that the Department of Veteran Affairs can do more do help US soldiers integrate back into society. When looking up the department and navigating its website, I was immediately greeted by a pop-up that asked for an email to be notified on the benefits this department provides. I found this surprising since I personally had to take the initiative to look up this website. For veterans, I can see how this can be frustrating and overwhelming process. Although I don’t know much about soldier situations when they get back, I feel that it would be very helpful to them if the department/agency reached out to them and immediately helped them get situated rather than vice-versa.