Posts Tagged ‘Military’

The Connection Between PTSD and Suicide By Matthew Tull, PhD Updated September 02, 2019

Artur Borzecki Photography/Getty Images

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“In the United States, more than 40,000 people commit suicide each year. Although women attempt suicide more so than men, men are more likely to succeed in killing themselves during a suicide attempt. In addition, people who have experienced a traumatic event and/or have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be more likely to attempt suicide.

Trauma, PTSD, and Suicide

In a survey of 5,877 people across the United States, it was found that people who had experienced physical or sexual assault in their life also had a high likelihood of attempting to take their own life at some point:

Nearly 22% of people who had been raped had also attempted suicide at some point in their life.

Approximately 23% of people who had experienced a physical assault had also attempted suicide at some point in their life.

These rates of suicide attempts increased considerably among people who had experienced multiple incidents of sexual (42.9%) or physical assault (73.5%). They also found that a history of sexual molestation, physical abuse as a child, and neglect as a child were associated with high rates of suicide attempts (17.4% to 23.9%)

People with a diagnosis of PTSD are also at greater risk to attempt suicide. Among people who have had a diagnosis of PTSD at some point in their lifetime, approximately 27% have also attempted suicide.

There Is Hope: Seeking Help

Experiencing a traumatic event and/or developing PTSD can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life. The symptoms of PTSD can make a person feel constantly afraid and isolated. In addition, depression is common following a traumatic event and among people with PTSD.

A person may feel as though there is no hope or escape from their symptoms, leading them to contemplate suicide.

It is important to realize that even though it may feel as though there is no hope, recovery and healing is possible. If you are having thoughts of ending your life or if you know someone who is having these thoughts, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.”

3 Navy sailors assigned to USS George H.W. Bush kill themselves in a week.

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https://nypost.com/author/ben-feuerherd/

Three Navy sailors assigned to the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier killed themselves last week in separate incidents, officials said Monday.

The commanding officer of the carrier, which is docked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia, announced the deaths in a post on the ship’s Facebook page Monday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm the loss of three Sailors last week in separate, unrelated incidents from apparent suicide. My heart is broken,” Capt. Sean Bailey wrote in the announcement.

None of the deaths occurred on the carrier, which is docked at the shipyard for repairs, Navy Times reported.

The crew members who killed themselves last week are the third, fourth and fifth sailors assigned to the ship to commit suicide in a two-year period, Bailey added in his statement.

Bailey urged sailors on the carrier to come forward with suggestions on how to put an end to the string of suicides.

“We need All Hands to engage by bringing forward your suggestions and ideas for how we can work together to prevent another suicide,” he wrote in the post, adding: “I want to reiterate that there is never any stigma or repercussion from seeking help.”

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My two cents: For the last two years military suicides have averaged 20 a day.

That is 14,600 suicides!

Families, wives, husbands, children, brothers, sisters and friends are negatively impacted or traumatized.

How many children will be 50% more likely to committ suicide in the future, now that a parent has.

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Military Suicides top record despite government’s best efforts: we have to do better

Patrice Sullivan, whose boyfriend, a marine, died from suicide, helps remove 5,000 small U.S. flags representing suicides of active and veteran members of the military line the national mall , Wednesday.

Washington Times by Gabriella Munoz

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The disturbing number has held steady for years: Roughly 20 U.S. military veterans take their own lives each day.

The Defense Department reported a significant uptick last year in the number of active-duty and reserve men and women who died by suicide. The suicide rate among veterans ages 18 to 34, some of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan, shot up dramatically from 2015 to 2016, data show.

Top officials from the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs, joined by specialists from across the private sector, gathered this week to search for solutions to what has become one of the most persistent, painful and frustrating crises facing the military community. Although the nation has grappled with veteran suicides for more than a century — officials note that some of the first academic research on the issue appeared in 1915 — many of the core challenges remain.

Trump administration officials say a key factor is a reservation about addressing mental health care.

“There’s been a stigma throughout the history of our country that I still think you see manifestations of today,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the conference, a biannual gathering co-hosted by the VA and the Pentagon.

“In the military, there’s always been a reluctance to address those issues,” he said. “But with many issues, certainly complicated ones, just starting to talk about it is a step forward. People would run from this label, mental illness. Families would panic, communities would panic.

“It’s amazing to me that we’re not any farther along,” he added.

Beneath the startling figures on veteran suicides is an especially troubling number: Of the 20 who die by suicide each day, roughly two-thirds have had little or no regular contact with the VA. That suggests an unwillingness to seek help or a lack of knowledge about where to look.

In other cases, VA facilities have become the sites of tragedy. Earlier this year, three veterans died by suicide at VA facilities over the span of just five days.

Two took their lives in the parking lots outside VA buildings; a third reportedly shot himself in the waiting room of a Texas VA clinic in front of hundreds of onlookers.

The series of dramatic deaths brought an even brighter spotlight to an issue that already had become a top priority for the Trump administration. In June, the White House launched the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) task force, an initiative aimed at developing and implementing the first governmentwide national strategy to confront the root causes of veteran suicides.

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USAF Orders Stand-Down to Combat Rising Suicide Rate 8/1/2019 ​––BRIAN EVERSTINE

 

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This story was updated on Aug. 1, 2019, at 1:04 p.m. EST.

Air Force units will stand down for one day this summer to address the rising problem of suicides, which Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said is “an adversary that is killing more of our airmen than any enemy on the planet.”

As of the end of July, 79 suicides had occurred in the Air Force in 2019 —nearly as many as were recorded last year in about half the time. The service saw about 100 suicides per year in each of the last five years.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright told airmen this week he believes suicide is the biggest problem the service faces.

“Let’s take a moment and breathe and spend a little time on our airmen and their resiliency, and make sure we’re not missing anything when it comes to suicide and suicide awareness,” Wright told Air Force Magazine during a visit to Tinker AFB, Okla., this week.

Goldfein penned a letter to commanders explaining the decision to stand down, while Wright filmed a video. The pause is expected to mirror last year’s safety-focused stand-down. Leaders ordered that stop following a series of crashes and other safety incidents across the service.

Suicide happens “sometimes with, and often without, warning,” Goldfein wrote. “Make this tactical pause matter. Make it yours and make it personal.”

This time, commanders must stop most operations on a day that best suits their mission and gather their units to discuss resiliency and mental health, and to ensure airmen are well. Most of the details are up to local commanders, though Air Force headquarters is providing some resources.

Wright urged leaders to use all the tools available to design a suicide-prevention program that works best for their wing: “We trust commanders,” he said.

Goldfein seeks feedback from commanders during AFA’s Air, Space, and Cyber conference in September on what they learned from the stand-down.

“Taking care of our airmen and their families so they can take care of the mission is our most sacred duty as leaders,” Goldfein wrote.

While each suicide is unique, the service has studied each of this year’s nearly 80 deaths to find shared elements.

“As we peel back the onion on many of these cases, on occasion, we see some common threads: Relationship problems, sometimes discipline issues, things of that nature,” Wright said. “It’s really hard to kind of nail down the why—why there’s been such an increase.”

RECENT NEWS

3 veterans die of suicide over 5 days at VA facilities in 2 states Travis Fedschun

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Three U.S. military veterans took their lives within 5 days of each other at VA facilities in 2 states earlier this month, prompting a call for action by lawmakers.

 

The first death was reported on April 5, when the body of 29-year-old Gary Pressley was discovered inside a vehicle in the parking lot of Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia.

 

Pressley had a gunshot wound in his chest and was pronounced dead at 8:45 p.m., Laurens County Coroner Richard Stanley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

Pressley’s family said he was medically discharged in 2012 after a bad car accident and struggling with mental health care, according to the newspaper.

 

His mother, Machelle Wilson, told WMAZ-TV that Pressley’s sister called the VA to tell them her brother was threatening suicide from their parking lot just moments before he killed himself

 

“He told his girlfriend he was going to do it in the parking lot, so they could find his body, so somebody can pay attention to what’s happening, so other vets do not have to go through this,” she told the television station.


Twenty veterans take their lives each day; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports.

 

The following day in Decatur, Ga., 68-year-old Olen Hancock of Alpharetta killed himself outside the Atlanta VA Medical Center. Hancock had been seen pacing the lobby of the building before going outside and shooting himself, WSB-TV reported.

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With multiple deployments, are the Soldiers and Vets dealing with complex PTSD,

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Complex PTSD is defined as trauma experienced over a long period of time. Simple PTSD is a one time trauma event. In Complex PTSD, trauma has been repeated over and over. Many more tentacles to heal from this extended exposure.
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Usually Complex PTSD happens in childhood abuse, however our redeployment policy has exposed our soldiers to longer and longer periods of battle.
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Our military model resembles the British military. We share the same statistical incidence of PTSD when we deploy into battle.
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Where we differ greatly is redeployment. The British do not have a spike in PTSD cases with redeployment. We have 22 suicides a day for starters.
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Think about it. This battlefield resembles the Pacific Therater in World War Two. They are in constant danger. Suicide bombers (IED’s) blur the lines of engagement.
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This heightened state takes a toll on all involved. Trauma has fertile ground for thoughts to ruminate under this kind of stress.
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Next, we can train our young men to kill, however we have failed to give him tools to handle the consequences of this act.
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On top of those burdens, these young men are exposed to horrific gore that war delivers.
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Something has happened at a deeper level because of all these long redeployments.
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This is far more serious than the military realizes, in my opinion.
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A request from USC online support for PTSD, TBI, depression and anxiety!

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I want to take the time to thank you for the incredibly useful mental health information and resources you provide.

My name is Gaby Acosta, and I’m the community manager for MSW@USC, USC’s Masters in Social Work program. I was wondering if you would be willing to include our Military Mental Health Resource Guide to Depression, TBI & PTSD, which aims to raise awareness around symptoms, causes and treatments of the various mental health issues that military service members and their families may face. The resource can be seen here: http://msw.usc.edu/military-social-work/military-mental-health-resources-depression-tbi-ptsd/

Your community may also be interested in USC’s military social work sub-concentration. Information about the MSW@USC Military Social Work program can be seen here: http://msw.usc.edu/academic/sub-concentration/military-social-work/

I can only hope that one of them would see the information and be inspired to take the first step to either seeking treatment for themselves or dedicating their lives to helping veterans. Thank you for your time!

In solidarity,
Gaby
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Great to see support available for Veterans and families. Thank you for your kind words.
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Excellent resource!
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