Suicide prevention
Lt. Col. John J. Melton, former commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg Health Clinic, speaks on suicide prevention at USAG Bamberg June 27.

BAMBERG, Germany (July 3, 2013) -- In recognition of June as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, Awareness Month, Bamberg Army Health Clinic teamed up with the garrison's Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, to facilitate a Suicide Prevention Training at the Freedom Fitness Facility June 27.

The U.S. military suicide rate has steadily climbed over the past three years. In 2012, more than 349 active-duty troops ended their lives, nearly 100 more than the number of troops who died in combat the same year and a 15 percent increase from 2011. One hundred and eighty-two of those deaths were Soldiers.

"If you feel someone may be at risk, encourage the person to speak to a professional," said Lt. Col. John J. Melton, former Bamberg Army Health Clinic commander. "Do your part so our community is the kind we want to live in."

In addition to the increased suicide risks, as many as 20 percent of veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, and two-thirds do not seek treatment. While PTSD is prevalent among people who have been to combat, that is not the only cause. Traumatic events, accidents, or even the death of a loved one can cause PTSD, and up to 7.7 million Americans are affected by it.

"People with PTSD often suffer alone, even as the impact of their injury is felt in their family and community," said Hannah Klein, ASAP program coordinator. "They often make high-risk choices such as abusing alcohol or other drugs. ASAP wants to make sure that no one with PTSD suffers alone."

Facts about PTSD:
• Symptoms of PTSD can appear days, weeks, months or even years after a traumatic event.
• PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, anger, emotional numbness and nightmares.
• Some service members with PTSD sometimes do not seek treatment because they fear it will hurt their careers, people will lose respect for them, or they are concerned about the cost of treatment.

ASAP encourages all service members, veterans and their families to take an online, anonymous mental health screening at www.MindBodyStrength.org.

To learn more about PTSD, visit http://militarymentalhealth.org/militaryptsd.

Page last updated Wed July 3rd, 2013 at 08:17