What is the message that the DoD is telling our military troops? That we want to use you up in combat with deployment after deployment! Subject you to unimaginable violence that causes PTSD! And, once that PTSD brings on the depression, the feelings of isolation, the rage, the avoidance of feelings and interactions with friends and family that can become so intolerable that you consider suicide, make the attempt and fail, that we are then going to punish you for letting your feelings take control of your mind, and your failure to accomplish your mission, to kill yourself. Is that what the message is?
We might like to say that the old mental illness stigma has been de-stigmatized because of the progress the military has made in this area over the years. But, in reality, the attitude within the military institution is still the same: it will only change when the old dogs (who hold those attitudes so dear to their hearts) are out to pasture.
Suicides accounted for 20 percent of U.S. military deaths last year. “This is becoming a huge problem and every one of these suicides is a national tragedy. It is up to Congress and the President to make the changes necessary to the Uniformed Cod of Military Justice (UCMJ) to de-criminalize this suicidial behavior and stop overzealous military prosecutions. These service members need a helping hand, not a slap down.”
Commander Gates pointed out that The American Legion, Department of Colorado is involved with TBI/PTSD studies being conducted here, in this state, and would be happy to pass that information on to any veterans needing that type of information.
Media contacts: Darrell Myers, Public Relations Officer – 303-366-5201 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org