As a member of the Military Suicide Research Consortium, I’d like readers to know four things:
1) Your tax dollars now support a new research mission to reduce military suicides. Civilian applications could follow. Seven studies are under way; more are planned.
2) The vast majority of service men and women are resourceful, psychologically and emotionally sound, able and resilient. While military and veteran suicide rates make headlines, thousands of at-risk soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines receive help, support and competent treatment within the military. We wish we could say the same for all our veterans, but it should be remembered that most veterans who die by suicide are not receiving services from the Veterans Administration – the only health care system in America paying serious attention to suicide prevention.
3) We train our warriors to be self-reliant, 10-feet tall and bulletproof. Expecting Rambo to call a crisis line is counter not only to boot camp expectations, but to the evolutionary history of human males.
4) Lesson: Don’t wait for a solider or veteran to ask for help; if you see signs of distress, reach out, now, and offer help in any way you can.
Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.