The Department of Defense’s Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness recently released an inaugural Annual Suicide Report (ASR). Along with data regarding suicides among Active Component, Guard and Reserve Service members, it also included the first ever number of suicide deaths among military spouses and dependents. According to the ASR, there were 186 reported military family member suicide deaths in CY17.
Blog posts with the tag "Service Members"
A quick search of the PTSD literature will show you widespread rates of PTSD in the U.S. military. In some studies, the rate is as low as 1.4% (Bliese, Wright, Adler, Thomas, & Hoge, 2007), and in others it is as high as 41.3% (Maguen, Lau, Madden, & Seal, 2012). There are a number of reasons for these highly discrepant rates, many of which are methodological differences.
In today’s Staff Perspective, the Center for Deployment Psychology joins forces with the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) to discuss the importance of human performance optimization (HPO) and Total Force Fitness. Click below to read more about how CHAMP seeks to improve the performance and resilience of Service members and their families through translational research and the development of evidence-based educational resources on HPO.
While there are a variety of challenges during the reintegration process, the most commonly reported ones included determining where to live, career/educational pursuits (i.e., Do I go into the workforce or go back to school? What kind of job do I want now?), and establishing new routines. One thing that most all Service members will say is that the military provides a structure to life that simply isn’t inherently found in a civilian lifestyle. One friend noted, “Going from a set schedule and working outside the home to being a stay-at-home parent and fulltime student has been challenging.” Another noted, “I wasn’t sure if I could do the same job in the same place with the same people year after year.” He indicated that the intrinsic changes associated with military service was one aspect he valued and during the reintegration process he was struggling with fears of stagnancy possible in a traditional civilian career field.
Every Service member leaving active duty has the experience of reintegrating with the civilian life, as well as their civilian side. While this may be looked forward to by many, it is nonetheless, a time of anxiety as Service members figure out how to move from one role and "identity" to something else. I have both experienced this and watched it in others. What I've found is that people do not fundamentally change as much as, or in the ways, they think. The role changes, who they are does not.