By Sally Spencer-Thomas
these messages become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Consistent headline include data such as
- Approximately 22 Veterans die by suicide each day (about one every 65 minutes).
- In 2012, suicide deaths outpaced combat deaths, with 349 active-duty suicide; on average about one per day.
- The suicide rate among Veterans (30 per 100,00) is double the civilian rate.
who are transitioning back to civilian jobs and communities. Many Veterans have a number of risk factors for
suicide contributing to the dire suicide statistics mentioned above including:
- A strong identity in a fearless, stoic, risk-taking and macho culture
- Exposure to trauma and possible traumatic brain injury
- Common practices of self-medication through substance abuse
- Strong stigmatizing view of mental illness
always clear on how to be a "military-friendly community." What is often
not always expressed in these media reports about statistics and risks is
the incredible resilience and resourcefulness our Veterans have when
facing many daunting challenges and the many ways that they have
learned to cope.
and Colorado's Office of Suicide Prevention set out to learn more about
these questions and conducted a six-month needs and strength assessment
involving two in-person focus groups and two national focus groups with
representation from Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and family
addressed, and what resources they need, here is what they told us:
the humor, they will come back when no on is looking for the compassion." They often mentioned they preferred a
straightforward approach that wasn't overly statistical, clinical or wordy.
the privacy of their own home. Additionally, a concern exists among Veterans who assume some other service member
would need a resource more, so they hesitate to seek help, in part, because they don't want to take away a resource from
"someone who may really need it." Having universal access through the Internet gets around this issue.
camaraderie and cohesion. Who I was, who I am now, who I am going to be..." The top request for content was about
how to manage the transition from military life to civilian life. The loss of identity and not knowing who
"has your back" is significant. Several were incredibly concerned about being judged for PTS (no "D"-- as the stress
response they experience is a normal response to an abnormal situation). Requests for content also included:
- Post-traumatic stress and growth
- Traumatic brain injury
- Military sexual trauma
- Fatherhood and relationships, especially during deployment
members and leaders with "vicarious credibility."
Military/Veterans a new way to self-assess for mental health challenges and link to resources.
- Videos Highlighting Veteran's stories of hope and recovery:
- Tony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYLotW27Bo
- Also see stories by Logan, Kyle, Chad and Paul here: http://mantherapy.org/#/more_videos
- Hire a Veteran. Because they make excellent employees, and it's one of the best ways we can help support their mental health and their transition back into civilian life:https://www.hireheroesusa.org/why-hire-a-veteran
- Financial Management and Planning: http://www.military.com/money
- Provide Service Dog Support: https://freedomsericedogs.org/
to the challenges and barriers that prevent them from fully thriving. Learn how you can be a part of the solution instead
of just focusing on the problem.
Reuters, Retrieved from mobile.reuters.com. July 2,2015
rates. Retrieved from backhome.news21.com/article/suicide/ July 2, 2015