Fighting the Intangible
by Ename1 on February 17, 2014 - 10:05pm
Mark Thompson and Nancy Gibbs write about one of the biggest issues for the United States military which has emerged since fighting two simultaneous wars overseas – suicide. With it becoming such a concern, the Army, specifically, has invested billions of dollars into suicide prevention and awareness programs, yet admits that the effectiveness of said programs is impossible to determine. The article discusses two main cases about two Army officers, both with successful careers and seemingly happy lives earlier on, however, something changes that and they both end up taking their own lives. Military suicide rates spiked upwards of 80% from 2004 to 2008, and another 18% in 2012. The question rises as to how this suicide epidemic can be stopped, seeing how military suicides account for 20% of all suicides in the United States. For as long as it remains a problem, the costs (emotional, financial, etc.) will be just as problematic, and the end seems to not be in sight any time soon (Thompson & Gibbs, 2012).
The question behind the article is quite clear. Why are suicides more prevalent in the military and for veterans, and how are we supposed to curtail them? It ties directly into the purpose of getting people, both military and civilian, to start thinking about it more and develop possible solutions. However, the article makes it seem that all veterans that commit suicide are mentally healthy to begin with, before all of the training and possible deployments, which is not entirely true. Also, it assumes once again that the problem does not start with the family, but rather that the family problems start because of the Army. These assumptions lump all soldiers and their families into one general category, where they all are ignored and neglected by the Army, thus causing serious issues at home, ultimately leading to their suicides, which cannot and should not be said at all.
Thompson, M., Gibbs, N. (2012, July 23). The War on Suicide. Time, 180, 22-31