The suicide rate among the military community has recently increased to one active-duty member of our Armed Forces per day. It is common for warriors to find they are unable to emotionally cope with intrusive memories and guilt from war; and to have difficulty integrating back into a non-military community. According to the blog, PTSD: A Soldier’s Perspective, veterans often don’t take advantage of the many suicide prevention resources available to them because of their inclination toward the following attitudes:
- They should be able to get themselves through the battle of recovery because they have already gotten themselves through the ultimate battle: combat. Veterans have not been trained to overcome the battle of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
- Some don’t trust civilians to help them because civilians lack military cultural competency. It is common for American civilians to struggle in assisting veterans because it is hard to relate to their tribulations without an understanding of their culture.
As PAs, we can provide the military community with the care and support they need. To do this, we need to know them and understand who they are. The best way for our civilian population to help the military and veteran populations is to educate ourselves on their experiences. AAPA’s Caring for Veterans and Military Families Initiative endeavors to bring awareness to the civilian population in order to make our country more prepared to assist veterans and their families.
Visit AAPA’s resource page at www.aapa.org/veterans. More resources specific to veteran suicide prevention can be found on the website for the Real Warrior Campaign. The Veterans Crisis Line is available for emergency situations at 1-800-273-TALK.