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Donnelly Looking To Curb Military Suicides

Last year, more combat troops took their own life than died in combat in Afghanistan.

Joe Donnelly

Photo: Courtesy Joe Donnelly

Joe Donnelly at a VA Clinic Opening in South Bend last year.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says he wants greater focus on preventing suicide among active-duty military servicemembers and veterans. That includes increasing outreach to vets.

Last year, more combat troops took their own life than died in combat in Afghanistan. And Senator Joe Donnelly says 43 percent of service members who committed suicide never sought help. He says trying to combat the problem of military and veteran suicide needs to involve erasing the stigma of seeking help.

“They feel like, ‘Well, I don’t want to burden somebody’ or ‘I don’t want anybody to have to worry about me’ or ‘I don’t want anybody to have to spend an extra thought on me,’” he says.

A member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, Donnelly says he’s also concerned not enough veterans are taking advantage of the programs and support provided by veterans’ organizations.

“Whether it is in internet, online ads, whether it is on TV ads, whether it is on radio – that we tell them, ‘Look, you have a friend; give us a call, let’s see what we can do to work together,’”
he says.

Donnelly says he also wants to ensure organizations like the VA have enough mental health professionals available, which he says has been part of the challenge in curbing military suicide.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • Jack_M_eoph

    Is the suicide rate lower for officers, and lower yet for the higher officers?
    If so, is that because they are superior persons or in much lower stress positions?

    Not surprisingly the military has taken the MO of mega banks, leadership out of touch with the ‘workers’ and too big to…..succeed……without the government pouring/wasting billions of dollars to support these farces.

    Reagan did not end the cold war, the Soviet union bankrupted itself in an arms race. If we are so superior why are we doing the same stupid thing?

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