Lower Suicide Rates Among Military Personnel

Target: United States Military

Goal: Lower record rates of suicide among US Army personnel by providing comprehensive rehabilitation and mental health support

Currently the suicide rate among United States Army personnel is the highest it has ever been. Military suicide rates used to be lower than that of the civilian population average but as of 2012 the rates have flipped, with military personnel suicides outranking civilian numbers. After the stress of two modern wars over the past 10 years, many military personnel face adjustment disorders after returning from the war zone. The majority of enlisted military suicides occur among young males and most happen upon return to the US.

Recent studies have shown that bomb blasts and multiple concussions, common in modern warfare, can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), an underlying cause of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. High rates of substance abuse and the gradual decline of available military-provided mental health care have also contributed to mental disintegration among servicemen and women.

Currently the Pentagon spends only 4% of its military medical budget on mental health care. While the US Department of Veterans Affairs allots a portion of its mental health budget to suicide prevention, there is more need for comprehensive mental health care than ever before due to more stressful war zones, tense economic environments and a scant job market upon return from deployment. With drastic changes in modern warfare and increased economic stresses at home, today’s post-deployment environment is more stressful than ever before and many military personnel simply cannot cope.

Mental health care and reintegration into society should be a top priority in the US military budget as the least reward for sacrifices that soldiers have made. Sign the petition below to demand the US military increase its budget for mental health care and place priority on properly reintegrating soldiers into civilian life.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear United States Military,

In 2012, suicide rates among US Army personnel reached record-breaking highs. Military suicide rates were historically lower than that of the civilian population until last year when the rates flipped. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars show a drastic change in the effects of modern warfare, yet military mental health care has declined in both quality and availability. Studies have shown that bomb blasts and multiple concussions can cause conditions that lead to PTSD and depression, which directly increase suicidal tendencies. Military personnel also have higher rates of substance abuse yet military mental health care is less available to them.

The Pentagon allots a measly 4% portion of its medical expenditures to mental health care. With suicide rates among servicemen and women skyrocketing for the first time ever, increased funding for mental health is essential to those returning from deployment. Comprehensive psychiatric care and reintegration programs need to be a priority to the US military. I urge you to consider the service these soldiers have provided for the country and make it a priority to support them in return.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Marsmet417 via Flickr

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Signatures

  • Isabella Anzures
  • Stefano Serpico
  • Roberts
  • Laura Dietrich
  • Helen Craig
  • Helen Craig
  • Dana Wong
  • Arielle Wildman
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