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Combating Suicide in the Military

Combating Suicide in the Military

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Published by CherMyOpinion
Important information and prevention of Suicide in the military
Important information and prevention of Suicide in the military

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Published by: CherMyOpinion on Feb 16, 2013
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07/31/2013

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Combating Suicidein the Military
 
Published by Cheryl fromCherMyOpinion February 16, 2013Many are asking questions aboutthe Central Command policy thatallows troops to go to Iraq andAfghanistan with up to a six-monthsupply of psychotropic drugs.Prescription drugs have alreadybeen linked to some militarysuicides,and a top Army official warned last year about the danger of soldiers abusing that medication.Psychiatrists are now coming down hard on the military for continuing to sanction certain psychotropicdrugs for combat troops, saying the risk from side effects is too great.Thousands of US soldiers are going into battle fueled by all sorts of prescription medications, be theyamphetamines, antidepressants, sedatives or others. Largely unmonitored consumption of drugs canlead to aberrant behavior and mental disorders. Over 110,000 American service personnel tookprescribed medications in 2011 to battle through everyday military routine.The Times recently disclosed that nearly 8 per cent of active-duty American servicemen and women takesedatives and over 6 per cent are on antidepressants, a tremendous eightfold increase since 2005, when two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were in full swing. Routine military service, combat stress, andsometimes lack of sleep force American troops to go to work medicated. It mirrors the general situationin American society that uses prescription drugs on a daily basis at levels unseen before.
"We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now…. And I don't believe the current
increase in suicides and homicides in the military are a coincidence," said Bart Billings, a former militarypsychologist who hosts an annual conference on combat stress, informed The Los Angeles Times.Painkillers of narcotic nature pose a threat of addiction to those injured who have to take them, too.One could only guess whether the suicide rate surge in the US Army in the recent decade has anyconnections with army psychologists prescribing pills to personnel left, right and center. An appalling 80per cent increase in suicides among US service personnel as I said is just completely unacceptable. Therecent notorious case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of murdering 17 civilians in a bloody rampage inAfghanistan, again raised the question of drug-related incidents in the US military. After it wasannounced the defendant does not remember what he did, his attorneys requested a list of themedication the soldier was taking during his deployment in Afghanistan.The number of suicide deaths in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year
more than the 295Americans who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2012. On All Things Considered, NPR's Pentagoncorrespondent Tom Bowman tells co-host Audie Cornish that the figures represent "active duty andreserve ... the largest portion were the active duty Army; 182 took their own lives in 2012." While some
 
of the deaths can be linked to the stresses of being deployed in a war zone, a third or more of those whokilled themselves were never deployed, Tom says.Each branch of the service showed an increase. The Army had by far the highest number of suicides andprobable suicides -- 182, a number that was up from 166 in 2011. The Navy had 60 suicides in 2012compared with 52 the year before, followed by the Air Force with 59 (up from 51) and the Marine Corpswith 48 (up from 32).source  A private-sector group, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which provides militarygrief support programs, reported it has eight to 10 cases a week of people seeking help because they aredealing with the suicide of a service member.Of the people contacting the organization for care andsupport, 18% were "grieving a death by suicide," TAPS said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened bythis loss of life, and renew our commitment to support the military families left behind who are grievingthe deaths of service members by suicide," said Bonnie Carroll,founder of TAPS. She is a former co-chair of a congressionally mandated Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide in theArmed Forces.If you are a soldier or the loved one of someone who you may think needs help I want to give you someadvice on how to deal with this situation. Please never assume the feeling will pass, this is a deadlyassumption. The only way to prevent suicide is to give it a voice. I feel it is my duty to help others tokeep from the assumption I made with deadly consequences. I can tell you with certainty whensomeone talks about sucide they have thought about suicide. The following are some guidelines thatmay be helpful to you or your loved one.
 
 
Always take suicidal comments very seriously.
When a person says that he or she is thinking about suicide, you must always take the comments seriously.Assuming that the person is only seeking attention is a very serious, and potentiallydisastrous, error. Get help immediately.
 
Follow the information that is on the
 Feel free to view the home page of this site and to use it to help you. Dealing with a person who is suicidal is not easy, sofollowing what is on the home page of Suicide.org can help you. And
always remember thatyou need to call 911 or your local emergency number immediately for anyone who is at ahigh risk for suicide.
Do not hesitate.
 
Try not to act shocked.
The person is already highly distressed, and if you are shocked bywhat is said, the person will become more distressed. Stay calm, and talk with him or her in amatter-of-fact manner, but get help immediately. If the person is at a high risk for suicide, call911 immediately.
 
Get help immediately.
 
Call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK.
This point cannot be overemphasized; a person who is suicidal needs immediate professional help.
 
Do not handle the situation by yourself.
A suicidal person needs immediate assistance fromqualified mental health professionals. Again, call 911, 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-273-TALK.And do not allow untrained individuals to act as the only couselors to the individual.
While you are waiting for help to arrive (or if there is no emergency):
 
 
Listen attentively to everything that the person has to say.
Let the person talk as muchas he or she wants to. Listen closely so that you can be as supportive as possible, andlearn as much as possible about what is causing the suicidal feelings.
 
Comfort the person with words of encouragement.
Use common sense to offer wordsof support. Remember that intense emotional pain can be overwhelming, so be as gentleand caring as possible. There is no script to use in situations like these, because each person and each situation is different. Listen carefully, and offer encouraging words whenappropriate.
 
Let the person know that you are deeply concerned.
Tell the person that you areconcerned, and show them that you are concerned. A suicidal person is highly vulnerableand needs to feel that concern.
 
If the person is at a high risk of suicide, do not leave him or her alone.
Do not leave acritically suicidal person alone for even a second. Only after you get professional help for the person can you consider leaving him or her.
 
Talk openly about suicide.
 
 Ask the person, "Are you feeling so bad that you are thinking about suicide?"  If the answer is yes, ask, "Have you thought about how you would do it?"  If the answer is yes, ask, "Do you have what you need to do it?"  If the answer is yes, ask, "Have you thought about when you would do it?"  Here are those four important questions in abbreviated form:
1.
 
Suicidal?2.
 
Method?3.
 
Have what you need?4.
 
When?You need to know as much as possible about what is going on in the person's mind. Themore planning that someone has put into a suicide, the greater the risk. If the person has amethod and a time in mind, the risk is extremely high and you cannot hesitate to call 911and ensure that professional treatment is given.
 
If the person talks about using a firearm that he or she owns for suicide, call thepolice so they may remove the firearm(s).
Firearms are used in suicides, and those whouse a firearm usually do not survive. It is thus an emergency that needs to be handled bythe police immediately.
 
Don't be judgmental.
Do not invalidate anything that the person says or feels. The person is probably suffering from a chemical imbalance in the brain, and thus could not possibly think clearly. Be supportive and caring, not judgmental, but get helpimmediately.

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