The typical nature of Army instruction fails to properly address how to handle suicidal soldiers. Serving as a volunteer instructor at the Combat Medic (68W) sustainment course allowed me to develop an approach tackling the difficult subject of suicide in the military. This approach comes for my experiences working as the Deputy State Surgeon of the Nebraska Army National Guard and my experiences working directly with homeless and disabled veterans with the Nebraska Department of Labor. Effectively addressing suicide requires an understanding of the negative impacts of cognitive dissonance, the impact of disease/injury on suicidality, and the resources to assist suicidal soldiers.
The views in this post are of the author and do not reflect official policy of the United States Army or the U.S. Government. They are tips to leaders in understanding and assisting soldiers with suicidal ideations. They are not a replacement for medical or professional attention.