INDIANAPOLIS -- As Suicide Prevention Month comes to a close, Sen. Joe Donnelly says America’s military still has work to do to help prevent servicemember suicides.
Servicemember suicides are on pace this year to decline for the second consecutive year. Yet, for three straight years more members of the military have taken their own lives than have died in combat.
The U.S. House and Senate are working out details of this year’s military spending bill that will likely include provisions from Donnelly’s military mental health bill. The legislation is designed to help link servicemembers with more local mental health providers.
But Army Chief of Public Affairs Malcolm Frost says a big part of the battle to prevent servicemember suicides is changing the military culture.
“You have to be able to ask for help – and it’s okay to ask for help," Frost said. "And that stigma that existed, really a lot in what is that Army tough, Army strong, we’re soldiers, we’re hooah…that has really started to melt away.”
Frost says as more military leaders acknowledge their own struggles with mental health issues, it helps all servicemembers ask for the kind of help Donnelly’s legislation would provide.