By Haleigh Kaminski
In two years I plan on joining the military. I am looking forward to serving my country but there are a lot of unknowns that make me anxious.
Service members are beginning to take their own lives in shockingly higher numbers than in the past. The branch most affected is the Army. In the year of 2012, the Army’s suicide rate sky rocketed at 29 suicides per 10,000 people. That’s more than twice the national population’s 12 suicides per 10,000 people. In that year the service mourned 165 suicides, about one death every 2.2 days.
Serving in the military brings unique challenges, physically and mentally. One example is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include hostile behavior, flashbacks of trauma, severe anxiety, loneliness, nightmares, and unwanted thoughts. These side effects may be enough to make a military member take their own life.
We need to create awareness of this problem and offer our service members the support they need to keep going. This is not an issue to take lightly. These are our own people taking their lives because of the unbearable stress and trauma they go through. The least we can do is create awareness.
In spite of all this, I am still looking forward to serving in the military and making my country proud.