Although many headlines seem to point in the opposite direction, military personnel committing suicide is not normal. Suicides have always been present in military the same way they have always been present in the private sector. Over the last couple years, however, there has been a drastic rise in the rates of military personnel taking their own lives. The branches of the military have all launched individual suicide prevention programs, but according to a Department of Defense (DoD) report last week, none of them are as effective as they could be.
A DoD, Congressionally ordered task force issues the report, which included the recommendation that the Pentagon should establish a high-level office dedicated to coordinating all the suicide prevention programs across all the military branches. Between 2005 and 2009 over 1,100 soldiers took their own lives. There is currently an increase in the occurrence of suicides among soldiers, with the highest amount of suicides being attributed to Marines and Army personnel.
There are an incredible amount of suicide prevention programs currently in place worldwide across Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps installations. Each branch, however, developed their own programs with their own agendas and those programs were developed too quickly because their need was immediate.
The task force’s report celebrated the effort the branches made in developing their programs, but recommended these programs be tuned up to correct their inefficiencies. The report made 76 recommendations as to how these programs could function much more effectively by changing their focus and closing up existing gaps in treatment.
If you are a veteran contemplating suicide, please know that there is help out there for you both within and outside the VA. In addition to counseling you may be eligible for vocational programs, housing programs, substance abuse treatment programs, and disability benefits.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.