"Every individual suicide is a failure on some part. I don't know that we can ever get that number down to zero, but we look at each one individually and review and try to figure out where an intervention could've occurred and learn from that," Dr. Christopher Hines is a psychiatrist at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
The Associated Press Reports there were 349 activity suicides in 2012, according to iCasualties.org, that's 39 more than Americans troops who died last year in Afghanistan. At last month's Disabled Veteran's Conference, President Obama called military suicide an epidemic.
"I think suicide in general over time goes through cycles where it trends up and it trends downward. Suicide is something in the military that is trending upward and I think in the last few years it's been trending upward in the United States in general,"It's a trend Major Agius says military leaders recognize and are doing their best to combat.
Dr. Hines says he believes our region is beating the odds, "Separate the soldier from whether or not you agree with the bigger policy that's going on. I think in the southeast we see that more than in any other region of the country."
Something our region can't control is the number of furlough days placed on mental health professionals. Can doctors give 100% of the mental health care in 80% of the time like they were forced to do in recent months?
Hines says, "If you limit the number of providers on any given day, then somebody isn't going to get seen that would have been seen otherwise. So I would hope that in the future we would figure out a better way to manage that."
Agius says, "What we hope for is that one, they know that there's help available and they can come and get it on their own. Two, if they don't know that or they're not willing to seek that other people around them will notice and get them to that help."
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