From Kathy Rodrick of Racine.
Hello, I am a mother of a Marine who recently committed suicide.
I have a few ideas that I would like someone to listen to and maybe adapt. Let’s do this so we can help our soldiers. First, according to the VFW NEWS WISCONSIN, the VA’s Suicide Prevention Program Adds Chat Service. This is a wonderful idea but I think it is too hard for soldiers to access. How many people do not have a computer and how long will it take to begin talking to a live source. I think that a business card with the front of it saying something like, “SUICIDE IS NOT PAINLESS TO THE LOVE ONE LEFT BEHIND” with the phone number of someone they can speak to instantly. This is something they should be given at their debriefing, something they are told to put in their wallet. At this time, I would impress upon them that it is not the strong person that thinks they can handle this on their own. It is the STRONG person that calls this number and ask for help. Also, Mandatory Counseling!
We need to impress upon our soldiers that it is the strong that seek help. They are not weak. Other people have these thoughts.
Even if we stress that they need to come to these group meetings to help their comrades, we all know that by helping others we are actually helping ourselves. Let these meetings be in the outlying areas, not everything at the VA. It would make it convenient for our soldiers and maybe they would find it easier to attend. Have the counselors and psychiatrist be mobile for our soldiers, they were for us.
Second, maybe they need to find someone outside of the military who has been through this to talk to these returning soldiers so it becomes humanized. I don’t have all of the answers but I do know the pain that this has caused a loving family.
Cpl. Kevin E. Rodrick 1977 - 2009