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Command Post What is this?
Posted on Oct 20, 2014
Capt Richard Desmond
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CPT Aaron Kletzing
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Thank you for writing this, Capt Richard Desmond -- I enjoyed reading it. Thought-provoking and sincere. I hope you write more content here on RP on the Command Post!
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Capt Richard Desmond
Capt Richard Desmond
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Thanks Aaron, and I definitely intend to!
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CWO3 Retired
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Skipper, I don't know if you are retired from the services or still active. PTSD started as Shell Shock, Combat Fatigue during WW1, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam. It was the Vietnam War that coined the phrase PTSD. Then we had many conflicts between Vietnam and the First Persian Gulf War. 24 years ago is a long time for me. Now Traumatic Brain Injury is on the list. Disability, Disorder, Injuries are not the same, but for government purposes it is. Our society and our media decided the 5 W's and now no one trust men and now women who served our Country proudly and are scared to hire them. WE have had an all volunteer Armed Forces. Just plain and simple the DOD industrial complex along with our media will send our men and women in Harms Way every chance they have. It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or Republican. As a Retired Marine Chief Warrant Officer with over 21 years of service and a combat disabled veteran I can tell you this, It starts at the very top of our government. We now have non-combatant civilian's working on all military bases. Why I ask? Because of the budget? Or because DOD is threaten by us Retirees who are the stake holders for the folks in uniform. If we don't do anything, then we all might as well dig our own grave. James K.
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1SG Civil Affairs Specialist
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This is close to home for me, for many reasons.
When it comes to stigma, it is undeniably present. Seeking mental/behavioral health assistance threatens your security clearance. It threatens your reputation. It means that you "fell out" when everyone else handled their challenges.

I think however that stigma is the least of a person's worries if they are contemplating suicide. It may keep them from seeking help in a timely manner, but the underlying issues driving suicidal ideation lie elsewhere.

Suicide is an act of desperation for someone who sees no other way out. It is very often a rational, well thought out decision with preparation and thought given to how their affairs get settled in the aftermath. You will not win a debate with a suicidal person. You will not "talk them out of it". What you can do is place a hand on their shoulder and care. Really care. If it is in your means to assist them with addressing the underlying issues, do so. No one wants to die, but some can't tolerate living. There is a difference. Give them an opportunity to contribute to the mission in ways that they care about. Give them responsibilities and purpose. Empathize, but don't try to tell them you "understand" because you experienced (blah, blah, blah). You are not in their shoes. Acting like you are brings resentment and erects barriers.

One last thing. DO NOT give them a reason to question your motives when you reach out to them. It is not about you, or the Army, or the unit. It is about that person and their challenges and that is it.
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CPT Hhc Company Commander
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To add to that, I see people that genuinely care, but then they are unwilling (or feel unable) to deviate from their own schedule. Caring for someone "on the ledge" has to take first and foremost priority, because that's one of our own. Regardless of what uniform they wear (or if they ever even wore a uniform), it is a fellow human in crisis. If you are late for a meeting, they will understand (I would hope)....if you are late for my formation....I don't care, as long as you communicate. Don't look at your watch as you are taking them to get care or simply sitting with them. Do what you need to do in that moment, because if you walk away it could be the last opportunity you miss.

Too often I see people so caught up in their own lives that they fail to even recognize the struggles of others. Of those that do, they are still not willing to say "I just need to call and say I will be late because you are important." Sometimes, those words alone can make a huge difference.
v/r,
CPT Butler
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