Suicide In The Military – Family That Is


The numbers are shocking — service members and veterans suicide numbers are climbing — we all know that.  We’ve all seen the articles and the numbers in the Washington Post , the LA Times, On NPR, USA Today ; and on CNN.

There have been hearings in Congress, conferences dedicated to finding the reasons and finding treatments. The Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the JCS and the Joint Chiefs have discussed, written, made speeches about it. The topic of suicide in the military has been front page news.  Veterans groups are rallying around their vets and the VA has new programs, telephone lines and counselors available.

Unfortunately, there is another epidemic of suicide, attempted suicide and depression that is happening in our community.  Silently.  Military spouses and family members are falling into that deep pit of depression: those who don’t come out, or those who come out dazed from over-prescribed medications; those who can’t take any more, both spouses and children who cannot handle what they are being asked to overcome.

As Deborah Mullen, the wife of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a powerful voice for military families –  has said many times, we aren’t even being counted.  She said in a speech in January 2010 that she was shocked that military family member suicides are not being counted. In a  speech at  the recent Military Health System Annual Conference, Mrs. Mullen talked about the fact that “…we are still discovering, still revealing, fissures and cracks in the family support system.”

This problem is being brought to the attention of those in command, those on legislative  committees and attendees at conferences.  But I wonder how many whose families aren’t military or don’t know anyone in the military have any idea that this is happening.  We in the community are pulling together, we are talking to each other, we are reaching out to each other.  We are trying to educate each other that asking for help isn’t going to ruin our spouse’s career (yes, that is a huge fear) we are linking to every online website, phone line, counseling service to make sure we are getting help for each other.

Some groups are rallying around, the always marvelous Give an Hour Military One Source and their telephone counseling line , but there are still huge gaps and cracks.  We have too many family members falling through those cracks.

Author and military family advocate Stacy Bannerman (When the War Came Home) has pulled together vignettes written by military spouses to illustrate the mental health issues connected with being in a military family. This original piece is designed to bridge the knowledge gap, to help civilians understand what military spouses really go through; not only during deployment, but during the stressful times before deployment, after their soldier comes home, keeping a family together during the constant moving and changes.

The Monologues are being presented on Friday, August 5th, 7:30 pm, The Old Church, 1422 S.W. 11th Avenue, Portland, OR

This event is a project of The Sanctuary for Veterans & Families, 501c3,   Homefront 911 is accessible and open to the public with a sliding-scale suggested donation of $5-25.  Tickets are available at  Tickets at door cash or checks only.

If you’re interested in bringing Homefront 911 to your community, or becoming a partner or sponsor, please contact  info@sanctuaryvf.orgThe Sanctuary for Veterans & Families is a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.


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W. C
W. C1 years ago

Thank you for caring.

June L.
June Littler7 years ago

All the more reason why war is passe, pointless, useless.

Rachel Beckford
Rachel Beckford7 years ago

Although aware of the problems many soldiers deal with when they return to the States, the impact on families of these soldiers had never hit me. I do hope the military establishment will take big steps to help these families and not just wish the problem away. That a count is not even done is appalling and show a complete lack of care for these troubled family members.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers7 years ago

If they want to kill themselves let them. Maybe it'll stop them going overseas and killing other people in the name of their governments. Anyway a lot of them are killing themselves because they feel guilty that they or their loved ones are murderers.
 Some say that they're fighting for us, but they're not fighting for me! So the towers got bombed and a lot of innocent people died. Why did it get bombed? That's a question no one asks, because they won't like the answer. As the saying goes. 'Truth is the first casualty of war' 
Send the children of politicians to the front lines. In fact stop all this glorification of war you savages. ..and all the warriors rub their hands and say. "Where next?

kenny s.
Kenny Stidham7 years ago

Allan Y. and Bernadette P.... You both are obviously george tick tick boom supporters. The blood shed in this "war" is on his hands not OUR current president.

Rebecca S.
Rebecca S7 years ago

PTSD is bad for soldiers...and they should really realize this even before they choose to go into the military.

Danielle K.
Danielle K7 years ago

It kinda makes sense; they are being forgotten as people pay attention to those who come home first...not those who look after them, which is a pity...

Barbara Brown
Barbara Brown7 years ago

More and more of red tape! All these soldiers (men and women) will need help when they come home. Obama is considering pulling out 10,000 soldiers, thats great but where will they live and where will they work and where will they get medical help, and now Walter Reed Hospital is closing their doors....what about all the hacked and lost records...what about not enough employees to take these cases on??? We Americans tend to turn the other way when someone down and out needs help and needs help right now, not 6months to a year from now. More than 1/2 our injured soldiesa are being discharged from the hospitals when they really need more medical and mental help so they can make room for someone who has the cash...Imagine that???

Derp Herpington
.7 years ago

Rich Person = “I don’t care if a couple million people died in my false flag oil war. My stocks in oil are the highest they have ever been. Kill the middle/poor classes that I got rich from exploiting too so I can keep even more money. Haw haw haw. (pig noises)”

Derp Herpington
.7 years ago

If the rich were forced to fight their own wars, or at least their children forced to fight their wars our planet would be a whole lot more peaceful. Until that happens, the rich have nothing to lose by making countries/groups/whatever go to war with each other.