Are people aware that suicide among military members has risen since Iraq/Afghanistan ?
The sad fact is a lot of soldiers feel so hopeless and desperate they are killing themselves as the result of these "sanitized" wars the media shows us. The suicide rate raised steadily throughout the Iraq war.
What can we do to ensure our young men and women are not driven to suicide? Why do you suppose they are? Is anyone doing anything? or just cheering for them with slogans and ribbons? - that isn't supporting our troops. Mental health care = good start at actual support, yet they don't get what they need. Why? Yet we start more wars. incredible.
I have never been aware of that, but suicide is a hard topic to advertise, especially it would be counterproductive to new recruiting. Not only counterproductive, but demoralizing. If soldiers knew the risks, maybe fewer of them would be willing to join the Army in the first place.
I only thought of the suicide as a depression symptom (from the mental health point of view) and people who want to do the deed will not talk about it openly. If they do, people around them (relatives, friends), should make a trip to the hospital (the sooner the better). It does not sound very inviting, but I know it saves lives.
The most successful suicides is when people do not talk about it, but do it. And I would assume that soldiers are the ones who understand that action is everything, "whining about helplessness" is not.
My suggestion is very simple, yet hard to achieve. People who are close to former soldiers (the risk group) should pay very close attention to the depression signs. It is people who care that would make the biggest difference.
Probably the Awareness would come from the bottom of the society, not from the top.
Mental health has such a stigma to it, that people deny having problems and others prefer to either stay away or ignore it.
Now, that I think of it, German soldiers that came back from the World War I and the Russian soldiers that came back from fighting in Afghanistan had the same problems. I only take these two examples because I read about the Germans and I witnessed the Afghan veterans.
Part of the problem (if not the larger part) is our indifference. Societies are sanitized, death is sanitized. Think of it - how much does an average person from the 1st world have to do with death? Encounter death? We cannot think of animals being slaughtered for meat or fur consumption. But somehow we forget about people.
What can we do to ensure our young men and women are not driven to suicide? We can not send them to war over and over again for more than a decade. We have never done that before. To return to Vietnam for a second 13 month tour you had to volunteer. We have an all volunteer force now and we've forced many of them to do 3, 4, 5 deployments of a year or more each. That would drive most people to suicide, much less 20 to 30 year olds.
I think the public is vaguely aware but don't want to look at it. We like having a military that will defend our sorry butts but we don't want to know what they do, who they are, or what problems they're going through as a result. In women the suicide rates are high because rape among military members has become an epidemic. Thousands of cases have been reported and estimates think that this is only maybe 13% of actual abuses! And they don't report it because they'll be reporting it to *their boss* who *knows the offender.* No one's really ever punished... and these women are forced to work with their rapists while being punished for lying. Cheery. Did I mention there's also a pandemic of male on male sexual assaults? Gay bashing, dominance flinging, that sort of thing... For an institution that is supposed to uphold the highest morals of this country they are floundering in this regard.
As for the men... they're going mad, and you can't blame them. None of them are out there fighting for whatever this war was supposed to be about. They don't care about the countries they're in, they're serving to protect their comrades. That is not a mentally healthy thing to do! And even when it's not voluntary we're still forcibly deploying them multiple times! There's a reason deployment isn't described as a "for life" job opportunity! No one can go through that many years of seeing people slaughtered and tortured and come out fine.
So instead of giving these soldiers the actual help they need, trying to understand the situation, and not starting any more nonsense we instead plaster our bumpers with yellow ribbons and congratulate whoever we meet that's been out there. Hollow sentiments. Hoorah.
Well I don't mean to sound like the bad guy here but these people sign up for these jobs. Every city I know of in my state offers free mental health counseling. It is 100% free to anyone. There are free clinics that will give free mental health medications to those in need. There is zero excuse for anyone in the USA to not get mental health care.
Maybe a good start is to encourage them to get counseling when they come home. Maybe we could stop teaching our boys that only sissy's have emotions. Maybe we could stop placing a stigma that any man who shows his emotions is "gay". Maybe we could teach our girls that they don't have to grow up to be super moms and perfect. Maybe we could stop throwing around terms like "crazy" and "psycho", which lead to negative thoughts of mental health.
I don't think the problem has anything to do with a lack of mental health providers and everything to do with how we have raised our children.
It is often people from the poorer neighborhoods in the USA that sign up for the armed forces. This is their way of getting a better education and, when they have done their time, a better civilian type job. Consider this.
There are grants available for the poor. They choose to go the route of military. I'm not downing them for it, just stating something people seem to forget.
I hear you, but in the military there are stigmas about it. It is also higher prevalence in military and the reasons for that need to be explored. I agree with your assessments overall, but for servicemembers it's an extreme issue that gets ignored.
This sort of thing isn't new. 19th Century British soldiers coming back from fighting in Afghanistan would have felt the same way and there was probably suicides.
Certainly the soldiers who came back from the Vietnam War had a hard time adjusting back into civilian life. They'd seen their friends killed in action and had come back to a country strongly against USA and Australian involvement in the fighting.
There were suicides after the Gulf War. Why? Nothing was settled by it. It must have seemed to them that lives were lost for nothing. The same can be said for what is happening in present day Afghanistan and Iraq. If there is to be no sense of victory or even defeat but a kind of emptiness as to outcome then I can understand why soldiers would fall into a black hole depression leading possibly to suicide. Soldiers make sacrifices. When there are no tangible results one way or the other it has to be a real downer. When you are resented for being in a foreign country and then resented for having fought in a foreign country that has to be bad.
Civilians care about good results. They don't understand these modern piss ant wars that start for no good reason and then slowly fade away due to political pressure. So what has been gained in the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq? Has it made the USA or Australia more secure? Soldiers have laid down their lives but the answers are elusive.
I don't know if there are any answers to preventing suicides that aren't already on the books. The trouble is the wars we have going at the moment or perhaps I should say the police actions will result in maybe two or three paragraphs in some future history book dealing with the 21st Century. This seems hardly fair for the soldiers who saw action but that's the way it will go. The soldiers who fought must also know this.
At least with the First and 2nd World War there were favorable results and soldiers knew they had done their country proud.
A mental health problem is seen as a way to shirk your duty by the military. Soldiers seem to have as little support for their problem inside the military as they do outside.
I watched an excellent Documentary on HBO the other night.
Wartorn: 1861-2010 Synopsis: With suicide rates among active military servicemen and veterans currently on the rise, the HBO special WARTORN 1861-2010 brings urgent attention to the invisible wounds of war. Drawing on personal stories of American soldiers whose lives and psyches were torn asunder by the horrors of battle and PTSD, the documentary chronicles the lingering effects of combat stress and post-traumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout American history, from the Civil War through today's conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Seems that suicide is not new nor is ignoring them once they return home sick and broken.
http://vimeo.com/67739294 The War You Don't See is a film by John Pilger....watch it and you'll know why so many are driven to suicide
by Barbara5 years ago
What suggestions would you offer the military for managing their mental health issues?Returning soldiers have a high rate of suicide-- sometimes due to the amount of deployments they experience or traumatic stress...
by dadibobs6 years ago
If your country was invaded, would fighting to free your people from occupation make you a terrorist?, therefore being feared, hated and eventually punished, or would you become a public hero, reaping the benefits along...
by Ralph Deeds8 years ago
The foreign policy establishment, for the most part including the New York Times editorial page, has called our military activities in Afghanistan a "necessary war," in contrast to our invasion of Iraq....
by backporchstories5 years ago
Do you think the Veterans Administration is adequately serving the soldiers of today?The VA has been under fire throughout the years with their treatment of soldiers. With so many returning from Iraq, do you think...
by schoolgirlforreal23 months ago
Speaking with a mental health professional the other day, one that works at a respite- which is a temporary place for emotionally upset people, who have a diagnosis-- to go, whether they are homeless, or lost a loved...
by BristolBoy8 years ago
With the news that a further 8 UK service personnel have died in Afghanistan in the last 24 hours it means that deaths in this war now exceed those due to the Iraq conflict. As a result calls are increasing for...
Copyright © 2018 HubPages Inc. and respective owners.
Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.
HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc.
HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.