Monday, August 29, 2011

Stonewalling of Info for Families of Military Personnel Suicides

The recent article "Army silence and censors bring agony" by Mark Brunswick for the StarTribune (Twin Cities, Minnesota), reports:
The Army announced that its 32 suicides in July were the highest it has ever recorded since it began keeping track of monthly rates two years ago. The deaths, which included 22 active-duty soldiers and 10 from the reserves, put a damper on claims that the military was getting a handle on the problem.
Equally upsetting is this info from the article:
In an extensive report on suicide prevention last year, a Department of Defense task force found that there is no program for chaplains, first responders and casualty assistance officers on how best to work with next of kin.
The article (with accompany video) details the hurdles several families of military personnel suicides have been going through and gone through to try to find out what really happened.

Some of these stories are particularly disturbing, including about the mother who learned in the report of her son's suicide that "there was no gunpowder residue detected on his hands" and about another mother who discovered "the Army had wiped clean the hard drive of her son's laptop."

The article also mentions the military survivors group Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, which works with family members dealing with a suicide.

I recommend you read the article (and perhaps some of the related articles) and then, if you have any clout to help with this shameful situation, you do so.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the novel MRS. LIEUTENANT and the eBook novel LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her posts at the company's social media marketing blog.

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