Monday, June 21, 2010
(Click for full-size ad.)
“Army Spc. Joseph Sanders was despondent over the breakup of his marriage and feeling alone in the oppressive heat of an Iraqi summer when he turned his rifle on himself and pulled the trigger.
When I saw this story about suicide in the military and their efforts at prevention with a new ad campaign, I couldn’t believe it. I thought with the topic of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) being discussed more in the media this past few years that we had maybe started to turn a corner on acknowledging potential mental health problems caused by war. But the overall tone of military recruitment campaigns never got that message, almost cranking the volume to 11 with patriotic visions of video game battlefields. For the military though to come out now and discuss suicide, depression or other mental health issues is a huge reversal for them that says we have a problem that needs fixing.* Especially given how each branch has historically promoted itself by omitting those potential consequences of war. The program is geared towards the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. You can check out the rest of the Real Warriors, Real Battles, Real Strength program over at the Defense Department’s Real Warriors psychological health program website.
*Shhh. Save the “Yeah, fix it by getting out of the Middle East!” comments.