Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community

Veteran Suicide

Discussion in 'Living Room' started by lewy89, 14th Aug, 2016.

  1. lewy89

    lewy89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Mar, 2016
    Posts:
    92
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Story in the Sunday Mail today about the number of (known) returned servicemen/women who have committed suicide this year equalling the total number of Australians killed in action during the 13 year period Australia was involved in Afghanistan. It seems Australia, in general, cares more about pretty much anything else.

    So the question is, why are veterans not looked after and what can we do to change the perception / stigma surrounding PTSD? Furthering that, why is there a distinct lack of coverage / care from the majority of the Australian people and media?

    I just read an article about 2 Imams who were murdered in New York (Horrible). Nothing suggests it was a hate crime (yet). Now all the social justice warriors of the world have made #illwalkwithyou a trending hashtag.... Makes me think of the hypocrisy when 22 US veterans commit suicide every day yet they can't get a trending hashtag to support them.

    Just had to have a vent. And this is very, very restrained.
     
    Bran likes this.
  2. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,224
    Location:
    At work

    I don't have any answers.

    But, we have family members currently serving in commando, including into the hotspots in the middle east. One of the problems is that they NEVER talk about it. Not allowed to. We all push and probe, and never has there been a single word. We don't really worry about their mental health in particular, but if you can't come home and debrief with your family, then who do you debrief with when your comrades have gone home as well?

    I've never been in combat, but saw things (some that I've recounted here) that particularly had I been a parent at the time would have been unreconcilable. Part of the issue is that talking about it didn't help. Now, I still see death and trauma not infrequently - but I don't think about it unless there is something particular that makes it relatable. One detachs from the significance of it out of necessity. That detachment extends into other parts of life.
     
    MTR and WattleIdo like this.
  3. geoffw

    geoffw Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    15th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    2,169
    Location:
    Canberra
    Not just servicemen
    Figures reveal high suicide rates amongst emergency workers
    Our shameful silence on police suicide

    Or even young people. The leading cause of death with people aged 15-44 is suicide
    Leading causes of death (AIHW)
    This last one has come very close to home. My daughter is studying at university. One of her closest friends committed suicide earlier this year. He had confided in her about his depression, something he hadn't even talked about with his family, who were very close to him. Last year she topped her year. Now she is really struggling to complete assigned work despite a lot of concessions from her faculty. Everything reminds her of him. She is unlikely to finish the year. Yet her pain is nothing compared to what his family would be going through.
     
    Bran likes this.
  4. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9th Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    837
    Location:
    Hunter Valley
    I really feel for the veterans - the inability to talk is not new. My grandfather was a bomber pilot during WW2 and never said anything - ever - about it. What we could get out was his horror at knowing he was dropping bombs on civilians (he was involved in Dresden amongst others) - and never really knew the extent of what he went thru until after his death and reading his logbook ... still brings me to tears to think about the entries.

    He did go on to leave a long and happy life ... but I suspect that's due to my grandmother, who was a very strong woman in miniature, and two daughters to be proud of.
     
    jim1964 and Bran like this.
  5. lewy89

    lewy89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Mar, 2016
    Posts:
    92
    Location:
    Brisbane
    The thing I find most difficult is my inability to understand the mindframe. I just can not comprehend it.

    I have been in combat. Ive watched the vehicle 10m infront of me been blown sky high and an Australian soldier catapulted through the air (luckily survived but spent the better part of a year in hospital), I treated a kid who had both his legs blown off and died once we got on him on the chopper, Ive had my hands inside another mans leg and inside his head trying to hold his fractured skull together.

    Yet literally none of these things affect me in the slightest (yet). And I know that most my mates went through exactly what I went though or worse. We are all affected differently and this is one of the problems is that it affects everyone so differently.
    Some of my mates have commited suicide, others attempted, and others just gone off the rails completely and are in mental institutions.... But then you have some like me which live our lives as if nothing happened.

    As I said I think one of the biggest problems is trying to treat something that is differentiates so much from person to person despite them potentially having experienced the same things.
     
    MTR, Lizzie, chindonly and 2 others like this.
  6. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    3,224
    Location:
    At work
    You are right - people react differently and we can't explain it. I wonder if you (like me) have a notion that you feel differently than other people about a lot of things in life.
     
  7. Northy85

    Northy85 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    275
    Location:
    Sydney
    I think it's a few things combined that cause the problems. A lot of my mates who got out of the army went on to do overseas security and armed guard work. This to me isn't really getting out of the army. They're still in the same industry essentially dealing with the same bs. The ones who don't find work struggle big time with loss of identity and this also happens when the boys get fed up chasing dollars on security contracts abroad. Quite a bit of the depression and suicide could be fixed by getting the ex service men and woman into descent paying meaningful work after they leave. It's hard to go from doing awesome s*** in the army to nothing.
     
  8. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,822
    Location:
    Central West NSW
    From the sounds of what you say, your experiences - though painful and intense - have mostly involved helping people. While they were dying, you were there for them. Though this can bring up a lot of stuff, it's ultimately a reflection of warmth and strength and comraderie. So good for you.
    I imagine it's the feeling of being used to kill others and then left alone with it which would eat away at many.
    Good point @Northy85. And from another perspective, you must be very aware @lewy89 that quite a few people who join the forces do so to get some discipline into their lives, get away from their families, find a purpose. While these are quite normal pursuits for most young people, the army, navy, etc can attract quite a few looking for someone to look after them. And because they are young, the post traumatic stress of their family lives hasn't quite caught up with them yet. By the time they leave they have the double whammy and still have to put up with the family and still have to find a place in society.
     
  9. ramblin72

    ramblin72 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    47
    Location:
    QLD
    How someone processes trauma is based on a few things including interpersonal, social and biological factors and the mix of those things is endless. It's possible that some soldiers were already predisposed to depression and combat has made it worse. As soulless as it sounds, statistics can usually help identify those who are most vulnerable which is why research is very important.

    I would think a good start to addressing this issue amongst soldiers is at the very least some psycho-education. Are soldiers provided with any literature or information when returning from combat on PTSD? Is the concept of trauma explained to them at any point in their career? The stages of trauma, how it can be dealt with?
     
  10. pinkboy

    pinkboy Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    918
    Location:
    Mackay, Qld
    Didn't read the article. Its generally a rather taboo subject, and one Im working on spreading the message having recently been involved in several instances, and charity rides.

    Last week I attended a Living Works Suicide Intervention course. Essentially a course aimed at identifying invitations to talk to people if they are having suicidal thoughts, and the process to get them the help they need. It's explained as 'first aid', to get people the help they need with you as the first responder. It's like when attending an accident - while most of us are not trained doctors, we can administer first aid until professional help arrives. It is the same as this course - we are the first responder. People who are suicidal cant be 'fixed' straight away, like many people try to do. It's a long process, with much needed care and guidance and post suicide though/act care awareness in case of relapse.

    Some misconceptions about suicide, even in this thread. Suicide does not discriminate. Wether it be veterans or otherwise. People of all ages, gender. race, religion, occupation or social status have thoughts of suicide, act, or succeed suicide. Globally, a reported suicide happens every 40 seconds. Many others go unreported, or misreported (ie single vehicle accidents). Less than 1 in 5 leave a note. Globally , suicide kills more people than warfare, homicide and motor vehicle accidents all stacked together. Children as young as 4 can have suicidal thoughts, and children as young as 8 act and succeed.

    People who are suicidal feel alone, and need a small amount of attention, not judgement when approaching their situation. That takes professional help, however we should be socially aware that it is a rising epidemic, and we should be at least aware of how to initially help people in need. I attended the above course not to go out looking to help people, but to arm myself with some education in case the time arises within my family, circle of friends, or just in general.

    I'm sure someone like @Tim86 would have very intimate knowledge on the subject, especially lower age groups, as he works on the coal face in this space. Something I might look to in the future when comfortable to do so. For now, I'm going to be working with organizations like Livin to spread the message #itaintweaktospeak.

    pinkboy
     
    MsAli, EN710 and sanj like this.
  11. Depreciator

    Depreciator Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    15th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    731
    Location:
    Sydney
    This comment resonated, Pinkboy:

    'People who are suicidal feel alone, and need a small amount of attention, not judgement when approaching their situation.'

    There was a bloke in Sydney who lived right near The Gap. Lots of suicides from there. He could see the favoured spot from his home and got to know the manner of someone who was thinking about jumping. When he saw them, he would go over and have a chat and often bring them home for a cup of tea. He died a year or two ago and I remember reading that he was credited with stopping 160 people from jumping. He would occasionally get subsequent visits from people who had changed course after his simple, kind intervention. Do a search on Angel of The Gap and there will be lots of stuff.
     
    Gockie, JenW and sanj like this.
  12. lewy89

    lewy89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Mar, 2016
    Posts:
    92
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I brought up Veteran suicide specifically as its a subject close to my heart and in no way meant to misconceive people that it does indeed happen elsewhere.

    I brought this up specifically as it is obviously at a higher rate amongst returned service men/women compared to your everyday person.

    I shot at people, not sure if I killed anyone or not... but there was a few engagements where I was involved which resulted in multiple enemy killed. Plenty of my friends have multiple confirmed kills.

    When I returned from 8 months in Afghan, it was mandatory to attend a psyche for a half hour chat. Standard questions to which everyone lied to because otherwise they would want to see you again and you would be refrained from doing your job (plus the stigma that comes along with it). We did receive some education on PTSD but these were on the days immediately following our return to Australia where all we wanted to do was anything not related to the military (we got back on Saturday and had to go to work Monday for these 'lessons').
     
    mr500 likes this.
  13. pinkboy

    pinkboy Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    918
    Location:
    Mackay, Qld
    This is the very misconception you aren't getting. You might be hearing it, but not listening.

    The global rate is 2160 people per day suiciding, compared to 22 veterans per day. That means 'everyday' people are suiciding 96x that of veterans (taking out veterans from the equation).

    Again - Suicide does not discriminate.

    pinkboy
     
  14. ramblin72

    ramblin72 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    47
    Location:
    QLD
    Would you say that the info was helpful but not the delivery then? To me (only based on gut feel) it seems the timing is probably not the best. You get home and surely the days that follow are spent being caught up in being home. Maybe it's more so weeks or months down the track that the education should be delivered? When all the excitement of arriving home has died down?
     
  15. ramblin72

    ramblin72 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    1st Jul, 2015
    Posts:
    47
    Location:
    QLD
    I'm not sure about the way you are comparing data. You need to use % not whole numbers. Based on loose numbers from google and yourself:
    Global rate 2160/7 billion = 0.00003%
    US veterans 22/21.8 million = 0.000101%

    0.00003% is less than 0.000101% . All the numbers are pretty loose but it looks like US vets are 3 times more likely to commit suicide? Even if you factored in some number correction, it would still possibly come out as twice the rate.

    Am I missing something in your point with regard to numbers?
     
    LibGS, lewy89, pinkboy and 2 others like this.
  16. Mick Butterfield

    Mick Butterfield Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15th Jan, 2016
    Posts:
    408
    Location:
    Bermagui NSW
    @lewy89 could not agree with you more mate. As someone who was in the police and having a wife go through the fallout of living with PTSD (she was a police officer for 11 years) I can say the national response has been horrible.

    A case in point was the media/public response to the two 4 corners programs on live baiting in the greyhound industry (legislation change now being rushed through) and then the correctional abuse in NT (Royal Commission proposed) and then in the third week on PTSD in the police and the insurance company responses and it barely rates a mention. No media/public outcry, no call for new laws....nothing.

    My wife has just started an initiative to help break down this stigma and try and bring some attention to the mental health issue in Australia. Check it out if you want at www.runbrave.com.au. I reckon we could talk for hours on this issue!!!!
     
    LibGS and geoffw like this.
  17. pinkboy

    pinkboy Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    918
    Location:
    Mackay, Qld
    It appears you are correct. Not how it was portrayed in the course. I have actually snipped your post and emailed it to the course trainer as well.

    I guess without solid numbers, both with reported and unreported suicides, any data will be wildly skewed. I do now agree, with your loose numbers with what data we do have, veterans may well be twice as likely to suicide still.

    pinkboy
     
  18. mr500

    mr500 Member

    Joined:
    6th Mar, 2016
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    Vic
    That half hour chat and the following one 6mths later where the last time anyone from defence enquired about how I was doing.
     
  19. lewy89

    lewy89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    2nd Mar, 2016
    Posts:
    92
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Haha, at least you got a follow up chat!!! I had the half hour standard 'are you sleeping ok?' 'are you drinking much?'... of course I just told them what they wanted and was absolutely not sleeping and being a raging alcoholic
     
    mr500 likes this.
  20. mr500

    mr500 Member

    Joined:
    6th Mar, 2016
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    Vic
    Ha, copy that. Still not sleeping 10yrs later.