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#JamesDonaldson On #MentalHealth – Our View: #MentalHealth: Military #Suicides Show Need For Action

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A troubling 15 percent increase in #suicide among members of the military should be a clarion call for action and to immediately increase resources to discover #mentalhealthproblems and treat them.

A report from the Pentagon released Thursday showed rates of #suicide growth from 20% in active duty Army to 35% in the National Guard. Navy and Air Force rates were mostly flat, according to the report. #Veterans in general have #suicide rates that are higher than the population as a whole, and a study by the #VeteransAdministration two years ago showed about 20 #veterans and active duty service members die from #suicide each day.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Military leaders said they were alarmed at the recent increase but frustrated as it’s difficult to determine the causes of #suicide. They vowed to put more resources toward education and #suicideprevention. That should be the minimum response.

#Veterans should have broad access to #therapists and counselors wherever they are serving. And military leadership must do more to reduce the #stigma of #mentalillness. In one such courageous effort, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten said last year he sought help in 2016-19 while leading U.S. Strategic Command. In a remarkable public statement, he revealed he saw a #psychiatrist.

More military leaders should follow his example and help others understand seeking treatment or therapy is just like going to the #doctor for a physical illness.

Leaders of the military office of #suicideprevention said they know much more must be done to address the alarming increase in suicides. That’s a positive step. Simple things like hiring more therapists or outreach workers would be a good start.

And friends and family of service members should also be on the lookout for signs of distress or #depression. We have to ensure those who protect us from harm’s way are not harming themselves.

For a list of local #mentalhealthresources, go to https://bit.ly/3mbeDk5.

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