Mental health, first and foremost, needs to be addressed for all sectors in society. This is something that many sometimes overlook, but when a job puts too much stress on you, you need to consider your wellbeing and take steps to avoid a breakdown.
The good news is that many are starting to notice the importance of putting mental health first, and when they did this, they saw improvements, especially in the number of suicide rates.
There was a significant drop in the suicide rates, particularly among active military members. The researchers observed in 2021 and they have seen a continued drop into the first 6 months of 2022. They see this as a hopeful sign that people should notice and apply.
The figures were mainly driven by sharp drops among the members of the Marine Corps and the Air Force. They credit the decline with the increased attention they’re giving and have issued these programs to high ranking officers and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
According to the data they gathered, the number of suicides happening in the Air Force and Marine Corp has lowered by more than 30 percent in 2021. They compared the figures with 2020, and this was when they saw a 10 percent decline with the Navy. As for the Army, the researchers also saw a similar 30 percent decrease during the first six months of 2022, a figure they compared to the same time period the year before.
In reality, all the members of these services have been struggling to combat the very complicated issue of suicide that has happened throughout the ranks. Aside from that, these sectors also had to simultaneously deal with the dual challenges of having not enough staff that’s focused on mental healthcare. Then, there’s also the stigma that goes with seeking professional help. Many of them are just too embarrassed to open up and have an expert assist them during such a difficult time.
PBS has reported on this issue and right now, the services have been taking more and more advantage of military chaplains, health and fitness coaches, and other support staff when it comes to suicide prevention and mental health care programs.
“The amount of attention that we’re paying to it, I think, is hopefully—we’re cautiously optimistic — what is translating into the downward trend,” Yvette Bourcicot said to the AP on Thursday.. She is the acting assistant Army secretary for manpower.
The Pentagon is also working on filling a new force comprised of a total of 2,000 mental healthcare workers. Until that happens, some senior officers have mandated the soldiers to visit a councilor often and as needed.
Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, for instance, required a yearly visit with the councilors at his post on Fort Riley, Kansas. All except 10 of the 14,000 staff utilized this and had their 60-minute session to talk.
“I can’t order anybody to talk to a counselor,” he said right before leaving his post. “But I can tell you, listen, you’ve got to sit in a room for 30 to 60 minutes. And there happens to be a counselor in the same room.”
GNN is also donating a case of books (…And Now, The Good News) to the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida, to help fight depression. This was a part of their 25th anniversary celebration.
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