Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Military Veteran Suicide Crisis

Two days ago President Trump issued a new executive order establishing a task force to combat the disheartening rise in suicides by military veterans.

For News has the story:

President Trump signed a new executive order on Tuesday aimed at decreasing the number of veteran suicides and creating a task force of state and local groups to raise awareness of the crisis.

Currently, about 20 veterans die by suicide every day - a rate 1.5 times higher than those who have not served in the military. During a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Trump urged an expansion of outreach programs by awarding grants to different community programs combatting the issue.

"Veterans' suicide is a tragedy of staggering proportions," Trump said at the signing ceremony, while surrounded by military families and veterans' organizations. "Today we can help end this crisis."

Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Musil told Fox News one contributing factor is "isolationism... they feel alone." Several of his former soldiers have committed suicide.

Given that I do not know very much about the issue, I would nevertheless offer a couple of reflections. Call them queries, if you like.

For example, while the military brass is recommending that veterans receive treatment, precisely what kind of treatment is on offer? We are all aware of the recent guidelines published by the American Psychological Association, the most important organization of psycho professionals. And we recall that these guidelines are decided and markedly skewed against men. Their idea of treatment seems mostly to want to teach men and even non-men how to be in touch with their feelings, how to introspect, how to become more empathetic and sensitive. In other words, now to be more like women.

In the majority of cases nowadays, are the treating therapists male or female? Does it make a difference? I suspect that it does. Will a military veteran, especially one of the male persuasion, be more or less likely to go into treatment with a female therapist who only knows how to teach him how to get in touch with his feelings? Will he feel emasculated by that treatment regimen? Will said treatment make it more or less likely that he will ever recover.

Moreover, the nation as a whole has been attacking the martial ethos for decades now. Today especially, nothing is worse than being a toxic male. Will treatment offered by true believing misandrists try to cure veterans of their manliness? And the culture has gone to war against guns, because these have a decidedly male connotation? Will female therapists understand that some of these men are suffering because the ethos they accepted upon joining in the military is constantly being degraded and disparaged by the culture at large?

We have military veterans who have been fight wars for well over a decade now, but who have not been winning wars. How does that affect their states of mind?

Moreover, today’s military seems more interested in achieving diversity than in achieving victory. They have filled the ranks with women who are constitutionally weaker than men and they have tried to brainwash men into thinking that said women are just as strong and as tough as men. And these women are obviously a threat, not just to unit cohesion, but to careers.

Dare I say that women have not been welcomed by the troops? Dare we mention that women veterans have also had a very high suicide rate? Now, of course, a federal judge has told us that we must draft women. Because the country is being ruled by lawyers. 

Today’s American military prescribes transgender sensitivity training. Keep in mind that the push toward transgender sensitivity has often come from the top of the officer corps—because saying otherwise would be career suicide. And what about the ROTC training that forces men to walk around in high heels? Isn’t this degrading, not because high heels are necessarily degrading, but because treating men as though they are women is certainly not going to enhance their self-esteem or their self-confidence.

Too often today’s military has bought the therapy culture nonsense about being in touch with feelings. And it wants to teach soldiers how to be empathetic, presumably toward the weak women who belong to their platoon and the terrorists they are supposed to be fighting. We prosecute soldiers for killing terrorists, we insist that they must get in touch with their feelings, we tell them that sensitivity will make them better soldiers… and we wonder why they would rather die than talk to a female therapist who is going to try to cure their toxic masculinity?

So, count these as speculation. Some readers of this blog will have more direct experience of these issues than I. But, if you think that providing more substandard and ideologically driven treatment is going to solve the problem, you are not living in the real world.


Anonymous said...

There were a ton of memes going around Facebook making claims like "A whole platoon commits suicide every week." I decided to investigate if it was true, especially since my husband is a veteran and I didn't know anybody who had committed suicide.

My assumption was that these were recent veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan but I wasn't finding any huge increases in suicide rates in those specific age groups.

When I enlarged my thinking to veterans of other wars, Vietnam and the first Iraq War, then it made more sense.

This isn't an excessive PTSD problem as much as it is a men's problem and older men are highly likely to commit suicide. It's an overlap of veterans reaching those critical ages where men risk levels increase. That's my quickie analysis. I'm sure that other factors have influenced the levels too. Veterans might be more comfortable with death, and therefore more likely to end it. (My presumption.) Also, high concussion rates correspond to higher suicide rates and and veterans might have a higher concussion rate. (This has been researched but I'm not sure the time line effect.)

Frankly, framing it as a "veteran's issue" is probably the only way to get help for men. If you say white, older men are having a suicide crisis, the media is going to laugh.


UbuMaccabee said...

Men are far more effective than women at offing ourselves, and veterans are probably in the top quintile of effective men. Real men don't muck it up and don't cry for help, they just get it done and move on.

Spot on on all points, Doc. The psycho industry is the last thing those men need.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting how women must be part of all organizations because they bring a different "experience" ---- and yet if a man decides to call himself a woman, he instantly has that same experience?

Also interesting is how many with that disorder are athletes. Coincidental, I'm sure.