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Military Suicide

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Military Suicide

Jessica Lara

Introduction to Effective Written Communication/Comm/105

February 25, 2013

Virginia Stewart

Military Suicide

The number of Military Suicides has risen at a dramatic rate since 2005. Average rates are one military member per day commits the act of suicide. How can the military prevent this, what steps can be taken to lower this number? Should the military leaders be doing more to ensure their members, receiving help is not a sign of weakness?

Commanders are not necessarily the only "leaders" of the military members', in fact the greater ranks of the enlisted population are often more respected by their troops. If an enlisted member has a problem they will often go to someone in the chain of command, or a trusted friend. Often a friend will not feel comfortable telling a member of leadership about the problem for fear of getting the member "in trouble." Often that can lead to a sense of guilt if the member does in-fact commit the act of suicide. "Almost 40% of military personnel know someone who has killed himself" (Frances, 2012, The Epidemic of Military Suicide, para 5).

Military suicides are often caused by either Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Too often there are not enough Doctors to treat these problems, causing members' to often seek other ways to self-medicate. The self-medication problem is not just a problem of illegal-substances, prescription medication as with the civilian population. Is just as big of a problem in the United States military. Substance abuse programs are not readily available for all active duty members. Also a factor is that military members' are facing longer deployments and time away from their families or loved ones.

In August 2009 the Army instituted a program for all personnel called "Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program," the program is based on psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman out of the University of Pennsylvania. This program uses the theory of "Positive Psychology" that teaches member's how to turn the negative into a positive outcome.

In conclusion, it has been determined that military members' today are facing a great deal of stress, especially when returning from overseas. Therefore, active duty personnel are more vulnerable to substance abuse as well as suicide ideations. It has also been found that military leaders enlisted as well as officers are not necessarily trained to handle the suicide problems they are faced with.



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