FROM A PROVIDER’S PERSPECTIVE: WHY ALL HUMAN SERVICE PROVIDERS SERVING VETERANS NEED MILITARY CULTURAL COMPETENCY TRAINING

I want to be clear: you don’t have to be a veteran in order to effectively serve veterans. However, as a service provider who claims to serve the military connected population, it is crucial to have an understanding of military culture and have the knowledge to effectively build rapport and trust with a veteran or family member who has sought your support and expertise

Daily Beast: When Veteran's Day is Over, The Real Work Goes On

When 1st Lt. Travis Manion was killed in Iraq his mother started a foundation in his name that is now in its sixth year and has helped over 18,000 veterans.

Veterans Day has passed and the parades are over until next year. But for many the commitment to honoring veterans is a full time job with most of the hard work occurring after the spotlights fade.

Marjorie MorrisonComment
Six Degrees of Broken Washington

We have seen the tragic headlines reporting how 12 innocent Americans were killed, and several others injured during a hideous mass shooting at a Navy Yard in D.C. Although this terrible event has received a lot of media attention, it's sad to say that it has paled in comparison to the social media "hits" Miley Cyrus' got for her half-naked twerking performance at the VMAs.

Cracking Down on Military Rapes

According to the U.S. military, there are 19,000 rapes and sexual assaults each year in the armed forces—most of them unreported—with hardly any cases ending in convictions or even in prosecution. According to the Department of Defense’s own data, 85 percent of victims do not report the crime, mostly out of fear that no one will believe them, or that they’ll suffer retaliation (as many victims say they endure after they report assaults.) As Protect Our Defenders, a human-rights organization dedicated to survivors of military sexual assault, has stated, most cases aren’t prosecuted because of fear of retaliation, and only 2,500 victims reported attacks in 2011...

Are Our Vets Getting a Bum Rap?

Working with the military as a proactive mental health care provider gives me the opportunity to better understand our active duty service members and veterans. I have witnessed their dedication to duty, their strong moral standards and rich culture. Unfortunately, over the years that our country has moved to an all-volunteer force, our civilian population has had less opportunity to understand and interact with the military, and the divide between service members and civilians is increasing.

 

Are Soldier and Gridiron Suicides Linked?

There has been a spate of football suicides lately, tracing the increase in self-killings now occurring in the U.S. military. Is there a link?  To be sure, both war with its IEDs and football with its tackles can bruise a brain. The fact that both sets of bruised brains now are being examined to see if trauma plays a similar role in incubating suicidal impulses can only help, both on the battlefield and the gridiron.

 

Marjorie MorrisonComment
A Proactive New Response to the Service-Member Suicide Crisis

“There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines,” said U.S. Army Gen. William Thornson: “Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.” Working with the Corps to try and help stem its suicide crisis, I have come to learn that there is some truth to that claim—but if we can’t bridge that gap, things aren’t going to change...

Marjorie MorrisonComment
Armed Services Members MIA in Presidential Debates, Campaign

68 percent of Americans think the war in Afghanistan is going somewhat or very badly, and the same percentage thinks we should withdraw entirely or start drawing down troops now. Compound that with less than 1 percent of Americans serving in the active-duty military, so much of the nation feels no real stake in or connection to the war effort. That disconnect and distance helps explain how, at this time of collapsing support for the government, the press, and other institutions, three of four Americans say they’ve maintained their confidence in the military....

Veterans Are Only Part of the Challenge

Our active-duty military is in the midst of a mental-health crisis: the suicide numbers are climbing and the volume of psychotropic medications prescribed is multiplying. While both President Obama and Mitt Romney have plans to improve the overall military mental health system, they seem to focus too much on veterans (who do need the help), but with scant attention paid the active-duty force. My question to both is simple: with nearly a troop-a-day dying at his or her own hand, what are your plans to stop this epidemic?

Marjorie MorrisonComment
Counselor Teaches Marine Corps Drill Instructors About Stress and Mental Health Warning Signs

A few weeks ago, my best friend called me at 7 am. Although we talk almost every day, it was unusual for her to call so early, so my heart skipped a beat when I picked up the phone. All I could hear on the other end of the line was sobbing. When she finally caught her breath she uttered, “My nephew just killed himself...

Our Military Mental Health Crisis: A Case for Proactive Counseling

From 2005 to 2010, service members took their own lives at a rate of about one every 36 hours.There are currently more deaths in the military by suicide then killed in combat. Suicides in the US Army increased 80% in 2004 to 2008.

This increase corresponds with the beginning of combat operations in Iraq in 2003. Although everyone is scratching their heads to try to figure out what to do, if the government's solution is to throw more money at for-profit insurance companies in exchange for contracting military mental health programs, I don't think we are going to see those numbers decline anytime soon. Unfortunately, our country is still very reactive with regards to mental health and in my opinion those attitudes need to shift to a more proactive approach.