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Military Suicides

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By dracounouse
Words 1010
Pages 5
3 March 2015
Informative Speech Outline
Title: Informative Speech
Main Idea: Suicides and the Military
Thesis Statement: At the end of my informative speech, my audience will know more about the Military Suicide Issue and how the number of military or veterans deaths by suicide has been increasing at an alarming rate, the common misconceptions about the possible reasons why current and former military members are taking their own lives and finally what is being done to try and resolve this issue. I. Introduction a. Attention-getter: Across the US there’s thousands upon thousands of members of an exclusive club that nobody wanted to join. I know it was a group I never wanted to join. We are known as Suicide Survivors, we are the surviving family members of the military members and veterans who have taken their own lives and each day our group grows in size. In one collective voice we scream for answers to the seeming unanswerable question… Why? b. Preview: In 2012, TIME Magazine published an article titled “One a Day” referencing to the rate of active duty suicides. According to an article in the Government Executive the VA reports an average of 22 Veteran suicides per day. A look at some of the statistics and commonalities can help provide a clear idea of the contributing factors. II. Body c. Main Idea 1: Statistics: According to TIME Magazine since 2001 there have been more active duty deaths from Suicide than there have been due to overseas combat. i. 20% of military deaths were suicide vs. 7% that occurred among civilians. ii. 43% had 1 deployment. 8.5% had multiple overseas tours. 1. Only 11% had combat history and 6% witnessed death in combat iii. 83% occurred stateside vs. 10% occurred overseas. iv. 26% Substance Abuse issues. 7% Depression. 5% PTSD. 3% Traumatic Brain Injury 2. These statistics lead me to believe that the problem doesn’t lie with PTSD or combat related trauma. The soldiers at the greatest risk are not the ones that have served overseas, but are the soldiers who are stateside. d. Main idea 2: Stigma and Dismissal: v. Families are often discouraged when trying to advocate help for their loved ones. 3. One widow reported to TIME, Her husband’s commander said, “Honey, don’t worry, My first marriage was a wreck too.” When she continued to plead for help for her husband she was told, “Leslie . . . this just doesn’t sound like an Army issue to me, It sounds like a family issue” (Thompson). a. 7 Months later she received a suicide note via email and her husband hung himself at work (Thompson). 4. Halfway around the world an Army Captain tried to get help 6 times over the course of 3 days. He saw 3 doctors and tried the resiliency center, finally his wife had urged him to contact a 24/7 military hotline. 45 minutes later, “Still on Hold” was the last message he would ever send his wife (Thompson). 5. My story: vi. Warning signs are missed or unrecognizable: 6. An Air Force Times article reports an Army reserve colonel saying “I just had a soldier recently under my command commit suicide, He was actually seen two hours earlier by another member of his unit. Both had been through the Army Reserve Suicide Prevention Training Program. The colleague did not recognize anything that was out of the ordinary” (Kime). vii. How can these troops be helped if the signs are being ignored or if no one sees them to begin with? e. Medicating the Military: Estimated that one in six soldiers, or roughly 17% of the active duty force is on psychiatric prescription medication. 20% military Suicides on antipsychotic medications. viii. Side Effects: Abnormal thoughts, increased depression, thoughts of suicide, and suicidal behavior. 7. One Soldier by the name of Kern accounts his experience with Paxil while on deployment in the Air Force Times: b. “I had three weapons: a pistol, my rifle and a machine gun, I started to think, ‘I could just do this and then it’s over.’ That’s where my brain was: ‘I can just put this gun right here and pull the trigger and I’m done. All my problems will be gone” (Tilghman). ix. How many men and women of our armed forces have experienced moments like this as a result of their medication? Out of those who have how many did not have the strength of mind not to follow through on these thoughts? III. Conclusion: f. Summarize: Although all the contributing factors behind military suicides are still not clear, stories like these make it very clear there are issues that need to be addressed. The military troops need to feel comfortable seeking help. When military members seek therapy or help, it needs to be more readily available to them. More studies need to be done to assess if there is a direct correlation between the rise in prescriptions and the surge in suicides. Soldiers on prescription anti-psychotics need to be closely monitored for adverse reactions. g. The Suicide Survivors group screams in a collective voice to anyone who will listen, protect and save our military, even from themselves. Save the families of the military and veterans from having to experience our tragedy. This is one group we don’t want more people to join. The only way to prevent this is for the government, VA, and military groups to identify the cause behind these suicides and then to implement an effective solution.

Works Cited
Kime, Patricia. “No Warning Given in Majority of ’10 Suicides.” Air Force Times. (2011):
News Bank: Access World News. Web. 15 Oct. 2012.
Lunney, Kellie. "Veteran Suicides Highlight Tragic Consequences of Bureaucracy."
Government Executive (2014): 1. Military & Government Collection. Web. 16 Feb.
2015.
Thompson, Mark, and Nancy Gibbs “The war on suicide.” Time. 21 Jul. 2012: 22-31. Print.
Tilghman, Andrew, and Brendan McGarry. “Medicating the Military.” Air Force Times. (2010):
News Bank: Access World News. Web. 15 Oct. 2012.

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