Target: Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Military
Goal: Provide better and more effective mental health care for our military
Military suicides reached a record-setting 349 for the year 2012, far outnumbering military combat deaths over the same period. In addition, military veterans are taking their own lives at a staggering rate – an average of 18 a day. These numbers alone indicate something broken within the support system for our military. The United States Joint Chiefs of Staff must recognize this and work to remedy this problem before it becomes any worse.
The fact that suicide numbers are increasing for active military members despite the draw down of active combat troops is alarming. The Army, by far the largest military branch, and the most affected by this issue, had 182 suicides in 2012. As recently as 2005, the suicide total in this branch was less than half of that number.
Whatever programs are implemented, they should address a few key issues. First, the stigma attached to mental health issues in the military needs to be fixed. This may mean mandatory mental health screening so every service man and woman can ask for help without drawing too much attention. A common issue found with current programs in place is that they are reactive, not prevention based. Prevention needs to become the foremost concern. And when it comes to our veterans, focusing on our reintegration programs and taking better care of these vital members of our nation will do a world of help where suicide is concerned.
Sign this petition and call upon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to take action on this pressing issue.
Dear United States Military Joint Chiefs of Staff,
As I’m sure you are aware, military suicides for the year 2012 were at a record high. More military lives were taken by suicide than in combat for this year. In addition, an average of 18 veterans take their own lives every day.
These statistics are a sign that we, as a nation, are failing the members of our society that we are most indebted to – those who served or are serving our country in the military. Army suicides, for example, were half of what they are now as recently as 2005. This is a sign that something has changed, and we must do everything available to us to try and reverse this troubling trend.
Whatever methods you come up with should address the following issues. The stigma attached to seeking mental health must be lessened. A possible solution here is mandatory mental health screening for all active service members. Also, programs should be focused on prevention. The solutions cannot be solely reactive, short-term solutions. And when it comes to our veterans, better reintegration and general support must be available to them. Making their transition as smooth as possible, and making sure help is available if at any point something goes awry, is something that we as a nation owe our veterans.
Please take actions to help our active service members and veterans. This is a mental health issue that simply cannot be ignored.
[Your Name Here]
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