Multiple Service Members in Alaska Suspected of Committing Suicide Last Month
(ConservativeHub.com) – In 2022, the 11th Airborne Division of the Army in Alaska may have lost six soldiers to suicide. Four of those deaths reportedly occurred in the last month, sparking concerns over mental health within the regiment.
Although the causes of these deaths are still being investigated, reports say the commander of the Airborne Division attributed the deaths to suicide — or rather, “the enemy of despair.” Officials are keen to help prevent further loss of life.
According to Military.com, the area is cold and remote, and base resources aren’t as robust as in other posts. The bleak setting and long hours of darkness can reportedly eat away at soldiers’ mental health when they’re stationed there.
The Army in Alaska is once again grappling with a spike in soldier suicides over the past month after bringing the number down significantly in 2022 through prevention efforts.https://t.co/a8hVpF22hb
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) November 9, 2022
Still, barriers to treatment service access remain despite leaders working to increase appointment availability and even mandating screenings. Some fear the stigma associated with seeking behavioral health services when they need help due to fears about how it will impact their assignments and career. Another problem is understaffing, leading to fewer available appointments to see providers.
Additionally, the 11th Airborne Division has a strict schedule, Military.com reported. It’s fast-moving and intense. The groups just went through training to test their abilities in the Arctic under duress. But Major General Brian Eifler noted he’s worked to give more days off and allow soldiers to earn additional time away.
The battle against suicide isn’t unique to Alaska. Troops in all branches of service are struggling with mental health issues. But the 49th state has always been a hotspot, triggering past inquiries to try to find innovative solutions.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can connect with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. To learn more, feel free to visit the Federal Communications Commission website.
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