About

I created this blog to provide information, education, assistance and dialog for anyone impacted by military suicide; or for individuals who are simply interested in doing something about this very serious issue.

When I recently learned that veterans are killing themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes (updated from recently announced VA/CDC data to one every 65.5 minutes or 22 per day), I was shocked.

That shock quickly turned into anger. Then, as I researched a bit further, I learned that more than 100,000 veterans from the Vietnam era had ended their lives through suicide; many more than had died in combat. This made me even more angry.

Sadly, I must report that today, in our active military forces, suicides are skyrocketing with no end in sight. American service members are currently taking their own lives at an estimated rate of one every 36 hours (Since creating this blog, the rate has increased to one every 24 hours).

To date, military leaders have failed to take any effective actions to stop the escalating rates of suicide and suicide attempts. They have studied the problem, and talked about the problem, and have issued detailed reports about the problem … but all those efforts have failed. Military suicides continue unabated.

Something has to be done. Creating this blog is my way of doing something.

My hope is that you will share my anger, frustration and outrage about this continuing problem inside our military. I will do my best to grow this blog over time with postings and links that will provide updated reports, statistics and discussions about military suicide.

Will this blog make a difference? I cannot say.

But I will try. I will try.

 

19 Responses

  1. I hope you are still actively reading our posts…there is always hope. Never, Ever give up.

    http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20140827/scientists-rewrite-bad-memories-in-mice

  2. Thank you for this blog – it is very needed. I work for Freedom Magazine. Our next issue will cover the issue of military deaths in depth. We would like to use the picture of Ryan Alderman that you included in your article of 30 April 2012. May we have your permission?

    I totally agree with you and applaud your blog as it is crucial that many voices are raised so that action is taken.

    Sheila Macdonald
    Freedom Magazine

  3. what do you base your article in Sept on that the DoD and VA will no longer provide public information about military suicides?

  4. Can I have your email address?

  5. Ron Smedley sounds like he might have suffered from PTSD. He certainly had the experience that might have produced it. At any rate a single bit of testimony or opinion is not nearly enough evidence on which to base your indictment.

    And it says nothing to persuade me that we should abandon our efforts to help those veterans and active duty soldiers who suffer.

    I appreciate the blog and the motivation here. I’m all in.

  6. Ron did you ever consider that Smedley D. Butler might have been suffering from PTSD induced paranoia and Psychosis resulting from long term sleep deprivation? I don’t think I would let one man’s statement influence me. I need a bit more evidence than that.

  7. Do you know if civilian counselors are required to report suicidal ideations to military commands?

    • TMSR does not believe there is a requirement. Hopefully another reader will be able to comment and say with certainty. HIPPA may apply here. It may also be important to distinguish between a civilian counselor employed by the DoD vs. one providing care via private practice.

  8. The problem is not deployment. In 2010, in the Army, 54% of completed suicides and 59% of attempted suicides never deployed, according to Army Secretary John McHugh. The problem is more societal…financial issues, relationship problems, even issues from their childhood. We have to stop being afraid to talk about Suicide and we need to get rid of the stigma that is attached to it. It takes alot of courage for someone to take that first step and ask for help.

    • Read the stats a bit closer. 2/3rds of the suicides commited by troops since 2001 were of those who had deployed at least one time. While a deployment in and of itself is generally not the “reason” behind most suicides, deployments do generally have a negative impact and make worse the problems and issues, such as you correctly mentioned more profound for soldiers. Add to that factors such as age, psychological, spiritual, and moral condition of each soldier who enters into the military, especially when the military is “forced” to lower recruiting standards. We have already seen in headlines across the media what happens when we allowed four years of significant waviers being granted to those who had criminal histories, and those who failed to meet the standing lowest educational req. such as those not having a GED.

      You are spot on target to say we must not be afraid to talk about the suicides of our troops and their families. Infact we must also include in our discussions the same suicide epidemic and PTSD rates we are seeing in military contractors-who if they are not also qualified by the VA as veterans, are often times abandoned in their greatest time of need. We must not only talk about it-we must Shout about it-and do more than post on blogs.

      As for the “stigma” of getting help in the military. The fact is that the military is a “Warrior Society” and will always as it must see any weakness in an warrior as a danger to the mission. Simply put, in order to win wars you must have the best of warrriors-warriors who are fit to fight. A soldier with a known psychological injury, even if they are being treated, will never be fully trusted bytheir fellow warriors-and that gets people killed. It’s just the reality-war isn’t supposed to do anything other than to take the enemy out-any way you can. It’s dirty, inhuman, and it’s hell. We can never forget that there are always going to be those who will die or receive injuries-including psychological injures that then make them a liability to their fellow brothers/sisters in arms, and to the mission.

      If you’d like to be more involved with getting our troops the care that they need, feel free to email us at: lmvfm.org@gmail.com. You can go to our website at http://www.lmvfm.org We provide free counseling, assessment and referrals to veterans, theirfamilies, and do the same for military contractors. Unlike the VA, a veteran is defined as anyone who served one or more days in the military. Also, unlike the VA, we do not consider a veterans discharge status when we provide care.

      We’ve been in their boots-and are dedicated to bringing them all the way home. We also provide low cost indepth training programs to community caregivers i.e., counselors, therapists, clergy groups and congregations, etc throughout the country.

      Blessings,

      Leslie Haines (MAJ) DcnM., MA
      Executive Director
      Lutheran MilitaryVeterans and Families MInistries,Inc
      1615 Vance Ave
      Fort Wayne, IN 46805
      260.755.2239
      http://www.lmvfm.org

      • With all due respect, I understand where you are coming from when addressing stigma and trust…….However, there are, currently, a large number of servicemembers deployed, who are on medications and receiving counseling for depression/PTSD. Either diagnosis does not immediately disqualify a servicemember. As for addressing the stigma, this is being tackled from the top down. It will necessitate a change in cultures, and that, unfortunately, takes time. Change, of any sort, is very difficult, and things, usually, get worse before they get better when it is implemented. It must, also, be remembered that up to 85% of elite warfighters develop a stress reaction.
        Thank you :)

    • Then the 46 percenters of completed suicides is a place where lots of work to reduce the effects of combat trauma and military command trauma can be addressed . The Army loves to distract us from the truth by substituting sets of facts for other sets and confusing us on the issue .

  9. The most effective solution would be to end the wars and return military personnel home. Military suicides are a government created problem.
    The task ahead is getting government to obey the will of the people and end the wars…

    Sincerely,
    RonMamita

    • Well Ron, it’s a nice thought…wishful…and sweet….However, it’s not reality. Your most effective solution is simply a fanciful statement and not reality. The human condition being what it is will keep war machines going 24/7 and all the wishful thinking will not end war. Thus, we must get past the “gee wouldn’t it be nice if…warm and fuzzy fluff” and on to the business of providing those who have granted you the freedom to publically state your well intended but I dare say unrealistic wishful desires without getting your head chopped off, the best medical, spiritual, and psychological care from the injuries they have received-protecting you. Having seen up close and personal the cruel realities of what each of us-you included-will do to one another given the appropriate trigger I can tell you that had I not gotten the loving care I received when I returned-I too would be a ghost of war.

      War is Hell-but it is the warrior that gives you the protections you hold most precious.

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