Globally, suicide claims the lives of almost 800,000 individuals each year. That’s one person every 40 seconds. However, because of the stigma attached to suicide, this figure is likely to be understated, as some suicides are reported as unintentional accidents. It is regarded as a permanent solution to all the ‘earthly’ problems that one is facing. Despite the different views on committing suicide, it is an unfortunate incident in almost every country. People believe that there is always a better solution for any problems that one encounters, and suicide should never be an option.
Military personnel is the major contributors to the surging numbers of suicides across the globe. Countries such as America, Germany, France, and Israel have experienced high suicide incidents by active or former military personnel.
Some have attributed these occurrences to the profession where one becomes a ‘killing machine’ and is constantly surrounded by danger. For instance, United States of America (US) soldiers have been at the war front in Afghanistan for over 20 years. This kind of military service has been blamed for affecting the mindset of the soldiers. When these soldiers try to ‘repatriate’ into society, they face a lot of difficulties in adjusting to the ‘new’ conditions. Reports have made how soldiers who fought in the Cold War and Vietnam were finding it difficult to move with their lives after witnessing the underbelly activities of gunfire and violence.
The US has noted that a lot of militants, either those in the service or retired, have been committing suicide in a more daily bread fashion. The research was done by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, and they revealed that suicide had toppled military operations in killing US militants, especially after the 9/11 attacks. By default, war or gunfire and military operations are supposed to the major causes of militants’ death, but suicide is taking over that role. The Brown University report depicted that about 30 177 active duty personnel and veterans had died by suicide than 7 057 who were killed in combat or carrying out certain military operations. The research also discovered that military veterans form the big chunk of those who committed suicide. Veterans are people who have served in the military service and then retired [Source].
In trying to determine the push factors causing the military personnel to commit suicide, the author of the Brown University research report, Thomas “Ben” Suitt III, highlighted that veterans are received by “uncaring civilians” who seem to show no remorse the war’ heroes.’ After serving in the military, especially if one fights in a war, that person should get a hero’s welcome back at home. However, these veterans join a community that shuns them or even ignores them and their efforts. A lot of movies have been made, and they show how veterans suffer after they come back home, and they even find it difficult to find any other work. Such economic hardships should not be faced by a person who has been working for the country and the safety of the citizens. Popular movies about veterans’ hardships include The Men (1950), Coming Home (1978), Born On The Fourth Of July (1989), and Legends Of The Fall (1994) [Source]. Instead of getting ‘flowers and chocolate’ for their efforts in the military operations, the veterans become outcasts and misfits in their own country.
Suitt also argued that suicidal thoughts are also enacted by traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, and other emotional factors usually caused by improvised explosive devices used in military operations. He further explained that most of these military people tend to downplay their psychological problems so that they are not forced to resign due to medical conditions and will do anything to stay employed in the military [Source]. Moreover, after the war, some soldiers are required to attend therapy sessions to help with any psychological or post-traumatic stress, but because of pride, some avoid these sessions. Also, there’s a culture amongst the military factions that suffering from post-traumatic stress is associated with being a weak soldier; hence everyone wants to be a ‘solid and brave comrade while endangering their mental health.
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A spokesperson from the Defense Department in the US contended that males and young individuals are exposed more to suicidal thoughts. The US military is composed of a lot of males, which means that these suicide incidents will rise drastically [Source]. Naturally, males resist admitting when they are depressed or have hit a wall, so they pile on their emotions until they boil to the highest temperature and finally explode.
The US Defense Department assured the American people that it would continue working with other sister departments to reduce the number of suicides among the military personnel, especially the veterans who are supposed to be honored for their efforts. Furthermore, Suitt emphasized that Americans are not even aware of the man and women still ‘serving post 9/11 conflicts. The public should care about these individuals and show them appreciation with love.