Military Culture and Suicide

Report
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
Military Culture and Suicide
TRAGEDY ASSISTANCE
PROGRAM FOR SURVIVORS
TAPS National Headquarters
Washington, DC
1-800-959-TAPS (8277)
www.taps.org
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TAPS Mission
To honor our men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in
service to America, both in and in support of the military mission, by
caring for all those they loved and left behind.
Meeting the Mission
Peer-based EMOTIONAL SUPPORT providing comfort and care for all who are grieving a
death from those who truly understand.
NATIONAL MILITARY SURVIVOR HELPLINE, answered live, 24/7/365 with care from
peer professionals; responding immediately to needs of callers, including survivors,
caregivers, volunteers, and grief professionals.
COMMUNITY BASED GRIEF SUPPORT, including connection to unlimited free clinical
grief counseling; trauma resources; local area support groups individually researched for
each survivor.
CASE WORK ASSISTANCE, including pro bono legal assistance, emergency financial
resources, information on state and federal survivor benefits, connections to private
support for survivors.
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Suicide in the Military
“Although the root causes for the rise in Army suicides still
remain unknown, these three studies point to risk factors,
which may help identify potential protective factors, focus
existing prevention programs, and foster the development
of novel efforts to reduce suicide and suicidal thoughts and
actions among service members at higher risk.”
Source: Suicide in the Military: Army-NIH Funded Study Points to Risk and Protective
Factors - March 3, 2014 • Press Release
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U.S. Military Branches & Culture
U.S. Armed Forces
Collective Principles & Core Values
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Leadership
Duty
Respect
Selfless Service
Honor
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Integrity
Personal Courage
Service
Commitment
Excellence
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Basic Training
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A Day In A Life
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The Visible and Invisible War
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Military Culture and Suicide
“I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish
act. I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their
own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like
an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.”
- Major General Dana Pittard - January 2012
(MG Pittard retracted his comment and apologized)
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Military Stressors
Mission First!
Battle Rhythm (Tempo)
Deployment(s)
Reintegration
Family
Finance
Support Structures
Overwhelming physical and psychological events
Physical and Mental Injuries
Death of family members and battle-buddies
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Risk Factors
History of unresolved trauma and loss
History of untreated depression, mood disorder or TBI
Shame, guilt and embarrassed to ask for help
Physical/mental pain and/or trauma due to combat exposure
Desensitization to physical/emotional pain
Exhaustion/sleep deprivation
Poor problem solving skills
Alcohol and drug use
Recent relationship break up or loss of support system
Recent threat to career such as legal or moral accusations
Financial problems
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Warning Signs
Loss of pleasure
Self destructive behavior
Self harm: cutting or burning with cigarettes
Angry out bursts or agitation
Withdrawal
Nothing left to contribute
Sudden change in work performance
Significant change in physical appearance
Loss of appetite or increased appetite
Nightmares/sleep disturbance
Hopelessness, helplessness or no purpose - no value to family, unit or community
Making statements about wanting to die or “end it”
Expressing “Everyone would be better off without me”
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Stigma
• “A change in the way people view you”
• Fear that they will be known for their mental health issues instead of what
they have achieved while serving in the military
• Fear that seeking behavioral health will adversely effect career or ability to get
a promotion, assignment or job
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Providing Support
• Respond immediately or provide safety net until comprehensive care is set up
• Show genuine care for their well being
• Let them know they are important in this world
• Include spouses, parents, siblings and peers in care
• Listen and follow up with questions
• Give opportunities to find a sense of purpose
• Maintain sense of belongingness or help create one
• Give hope that treatment can work
• Help connect them with peer support
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Leadership
"The day the Soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you
stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help
them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of
leadership.“
Colin Powell
General, U.S. Army (Ret)
Army Programs to Combat Suicide
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Ask
Care
Escort
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Army Programs to Combat Suicide
Living Works Education Inc.
4303D 11 Street SE
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2G 4X1
Tel: 403-209-0242
Toll Free (in NA): 1-888-733-5484
Email: [email protected]
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Army Programs to Combat Suicide
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Thank You
Doug Windley
Manager, Military Installations
[email protected]
202-834-1932

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