Military struggles with countering suicide
It is "Suicide Awareness" something or other, day, week, month, or something, in the Military. That means Troops are called together to hear NCO's and Officers talk about suicide, how they shouldn't do it, how they should be on the lookout for those that might be thinking about, and how there is help available to those suffering mental health issues. In response, the most oft heard phrase (amongst those forced to attend), quietly, to each other is: "If I have to sit through one more suicide briefing, I'm going to kill myself."
The politicians elected in 2008, and the appointees selected in the aftermath, who made a big deal about rising suicide numbers in 2008 and before, are beginning to admit, they don't have a clue what to do about even higher suicide rates.
"In an interview with a North Carolina newspaper, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta voiced concern over suicide rates throughout the military and acknowledged the complexity of the issue.
The tragedy of suicide eludes "quick fixes," the secretary told Greg Barnes of the Fayetteville Observer." DoD press release, Amaani Lyle, 24 Sep 2012
I've been in those chairs. I can tell you that suicides persist, not for a lack of people being talked to about it. In fact, the current crop of politicians in the White House and Pentagon have increased the number of hours Troops get the talk, with an increasing number of suicides and attempts. And the fact remains that this is not a combat veteran problem. A large number of those suicides are enlistees with no combat service.
The first mistake these briefs make is that Senior Leaders, first line NCOs, and Privates get the same brief. The second mistake is that there are way too many briefs. Troops have tuned out.
It IS important that help is made available, and that Troops know where to find it. But telling people to pretend to care when they realize a Service member has become suicidal is NOT the answer. Leaders must instead have a genuine interest in their Troops every day of the year, because they are leaders, not managers. A Leader does not just order others to do things. A Leader is a part of that TEAM, that is making the decisions which shape that team.
DoD policies have broken down that Leader-Team relationship in an attempt to create managers....
I would be the very last to suggest that suicide is not an issue the Military needs to address, but go read the rest of War On Terror News has to say on this topic here.
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