Make mental health care easily accessible to active duty members

Make mental health care easily accessible to active duty members

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Melissa Ramirez started this petition to Department of Justice and

Our military is a large part of the system that protects our nation, both home and overseas. They are composed of individuals that at any time would risk their life for our National Security. However since WWII, the number and cost of psychiatric casualties has continued to increase among active duty members. In an effort to deal with this crisis the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) was established in 2012.This office is responsible for advocacy program oversight and policy for Department of Defense suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention efforts to reduce suicidal behaviors in service members, civilians and their families. The office also manages a 24 hour crisis hot-line, conducts an annual DOD Suicide Event Report and compiles quarterly DOD military suicide reports.  Another step taken  by The National Defense of Authorization Act (NDAA)  was to require the DOD  to establish a task force to examine suicide prevention and develop a comprehensive suicide prevention policy.

 So why is it that in the last decade we have seen such a large spike in suicides amongst active duty members?

Some 541 service members died by suicide in 2018, including 325 active-duty troops. The active-duty suicide rate was on average 24.8 per 100,000 service members, up from 21.9 in 2017 and 18.7 in 2013.

Yet, In a statement released by the Pentagon on August 1st 2019, “The rate of active duty service members who take their own lives has been raising an average of 6 percent per year, over the past five years”. A total of 321 active-duty members took their lives during the year, including 57 Marines, 68 sailors, 58 airmen, and 138 soldiers.
The Defense Suicide Prevention Office has done a good job at raising awareness and identifying ways to help anyone in service that may be suicidal However, accessibility continues to be a problem.

The fact that these individuals have to ask for permission to speak to a mental health professional  when the culture is to not talk about mental health alone  may deter  them from getting the help they need. However, if they were to decide to speak and ask for help the wait time is a large obstacle.  

  This petition is to encourage Congress to pass a legislation that requires all bases here and overseas to have several mental health professionals accessible to soldiers at any given time. This would cut the wait time in half and possibly save someone’s life. Also by having more mental health professionals being an integral part of the base , they are normalizing mental health care as opposed to seeing it as a weakness or liability.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!