Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Navy SEAL's suicide, lesson for all

Navy SEAL's suicide, lesson for all
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
October 16, 2012

They try to tell us that they are taking action on preventing suicides. They tried to tell us that message year after year. This blog has a long list of press releases and interviews with military brass saying they are addressing it going back to 2007, but these claims have always been followed by, more reports of more suicides. Buried in the reports are attempted suicides. The Suicide Prevention Hotline has thousands of calls every month but no one is asking why the numbers keep going up at the same time.

Why isn't anyone in the media asking the right questions?

There is a poll on this blog asking if Congress should be held accountable for military suicides. The majority of the responses is "yes" they should be. Someone has to be and the no one in the military seems to be held to account for any of this.

I've read these reports everyday for the last 5 years for Wounded Times, but before this there were websites and other blogs I had tracking all of it. If I post 10 times a day, I've read at least 10 times more articles. Few give me hope. Most break my heart.

Most of these suicides could have been prevented when the first attempts to address Combat PTSD began with the troops being sent into two wars. The program Battlemind was supposed to be the answer, but it caused more problems when young, impressionable minds being broken with military training were told at the same time they could train their brains to be mentally tough. Did they understand what kind of message the soldiers were hearing? To them it meant if they ended up with PTSD, it meant they didn't train right and thus, they were mentally weak. Nice! Would have admitted you needed help if you thought your weak mind caused it?

While PTSD has nothing to do with the strength of "mind" in anyone, they pushed the program year after year. When the numbers of suicides went up, they changed the title they used to "resiliency" tweaked it a bit, then passed it off as the answer to all the problems. We saw the results.

Year after year we saw young men and women coming home, still not understanding what PTSD was, why it hit them, or what they could do to heal. Families, well, they knew even less about all of it. "No one told me." is the response I get when I talk to Moms after it is too late to keep sons and daughters alive. Too late to help a family stay together. I thank God when it is not too late to save a veteran, but I am discouraged to discover how little they were actually told by all the "training" they were getting while in the military.

The stigma lives on. The lack of proper programs perpetuates all while servicemen and women lose all hope of healing.

Here is a story of a Navy SEAL, the toughest of the toughest, not getting what he needed to heal and now his widow has to take a stand to try to keep other families from experiencing the same heartbreak that didn't need to happen.

Chief Petty Officer Jerald Kruse didn't have a weak mind, or he couldn't have become a SEAL. He didn't lack bravery or commitment to do his duty and he was not new to this career. His death is a lesson for all and I pray a lesson for the reporters out there so the next time they hear about what the military is doing to address all of this, they actually start asking why failures are being repeated. Why is research being repeated that was done before over the last 40 years? Why haven't they learned from what is already known? Who will be held to account for all of this>

Sad tale of suicide touches Iowa Guard members
A woman whose husband took his life urges service members not to fear seeking help for emotional distress.
Oct 14, 2012
Written by
Tony Leys

Maybe someday, Miranda Schaumburg will get a decent night’s sleep before she has to stand in front of a military audience and describe her husband’s collapse into suicide.

She’s made the presentation about 20 times in various parts of the country over the past several years, but the anxiety still grabs her. It woke her at 3 a.m. Saturday, 11 hours before she was slated to tell Iowa National Guard soldiers her family’s story. She sat in her Pleasant Hill home before dawn, going over it again and again. How could she explain the way her Navy SEAL husband slipped into despondency, and the way the military failed to rescue him? How could she convey how important it is that service members feel free to seek mental help without endangering their reputations and careers?

The Iowa Guard invited Schaumburg to speak Saturday afternoon to officers and senior sergeants as part of the Army’s national effort to stem a wave of suicides. When the time came, she gathered her courage, walked to the front of a lecture hall in Johnston and faced about 125 men and women in camouflage uniforms. Her voice had a quaver at first, but it settled down and the facts spilled out.

Her husband, Chief Petty Officer Jerald Kruse, served 19 years in the Navy. He was a SEAL, an elite warrior sent to fight in some of the toughest situations around the world, including in Iraq. “His problems really began in ’05. That’s when I really began to notice something was wrong,” she said. He drank excessively, stayed up all night and lashed out at her and their three kids.
read more here

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