By Pfc. Eric J. MartinezJune 15, 2008
Many people are affected when someone commits suicide. Fellow Soldiers, entire units and that person's family feel the pain and go through the struggle afterwards.
"Suicide effects everyone differently. Some people feel guilty and they ask themselves 'what could I have done'' They feel like they should have seen the signs," said Sgt. Kristina C. Schobey, mental health specialist, 785th Medical Company.
Unit and its Soldiers are put under extra stress as a result of losing one of its own.
"Morale is down and there is a void in the unit. Some feel like their fellow Soldier bailed out on them. It's normal to feel abandoned when somebody leaves you especially when there is no answer to why it happened," Schobey said.
"The suicide leaves the servicemembers to cope with feelings of losing a critical person," said Command Sgt. Maj. Leroy Chaney, command sergeant major, Multi-National Corps - Iraq Special Troops Battalion. "They have to train a new member to fill the void and that new Soldier has to adjust to the new role in which he has been placed."
After a suicide, the chain of command goes through investigations and focuses on reassuring the Soldiers left behind that leaders are there to help Soldiers with their problems. The leadership also works to remove the negative stigma attached to the Soldier.
"Its okay to be angry or feel abandoned. It makes you human." Shobey said "It's not anybody's fault. Ultimately you won't see it coming if Soldiers don't know how to ask for help."
Combat Stress Controls will continue with their suicide prevention training following a suicide, but will also counsel individuals affected. "We will encourage everyone involved to celebrate the person's life, and write notes to the family" said Pfc. Leanna M. Goodrum, mental health specialist, 62nd Medical Brigade. "It's all part of the healing process for the soldiers involved and the family of the victim."