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Military Suicide Benefits?

TexanInHawaii 2010/01/07 14:42:06
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Recently, a bipartisan committee of 44 House members asked President Obama to change the rules regarding the lack of benefits extended to the families of soldiers that resort to suicide.

Specifically, they asked that these families receive a letter of condolences from the President, as do other soldiers that die serving their country.

There is such a "stigma" in the military regarding "mental illness", that most service members will not seek treatment for fear of the affect it will have on their military career. Do we want to promote a person to a leadership position if he cannot control his/her own life? What about security clearances? Even civilians with mental illness cannot own/carry guns, so do we want that person armed?

Thus, in 2008, we had a record 140 active duty service members that took their own lives. 2009 is projected to break that number.

Should their families receive the same benefits as other service members that die on active duty? For example, the letter of condolences from the President, burial, etc? Are their "wounds" that much different than those that trip IEDs? Was their service to our country negated by this act?

OR, did they dishonor the uniform, their country & their family? Do religious issues get involved as it does in abortion?

Let me hear your thoughts & ideas on this issue.

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Top Opinion

  • Daryl 2010/01/07 18:01:37
    Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    Daryl
    +5
    Obama doesn't want tax dollars to go to those who actually earned them.

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  • Kate 2012/05/16 01:38:50
    Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    Kate
    To those who answered NO I just buried my 24 year old cousin today, he served in Iraq for 5 years. There had to be 2000 people there as he was being interred at the National Cemetery today. I would like you to ask any of the soldiers who were there today that question - or publically discuss that negative opinion to one of them,.. you are not one of them, dont be as ignorant to pretend to understand how complex the whole matter is, just because you haven't suffered as greatly as others, it doesnt make you a better person. My own father served in Vietnam for 4 years, and I understand what was brought home, I lived it. RIP Sergeant JMC Soldier Brother, Friend to all, your always in our hearts. You were a hero to many of us and to many of the countless lives you saved.
  • Tits ISHBAHFF McGee 2011/02/18 21:40:42
    Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    Tits ISHBAHFF McGee
    +1
    Suicide isn't covered under some life insurance policies if not most. I am not sure if a private citizen committed suicide, what happens with their benefits/policies etc.

    But, this could be naive thinking but in my mind if a military person committed suicide I would be inclined to think the mental stress of being in the military and seeing the horrors of war was too much for them.

    If it is job related stress, post traumatic stress syndrome type thing, then they should be covered. I guess, if it could be proved the person was mentally ill or suicidal prior to joining the military an argument could be made they shouldn't be covered, but hopefully they would not have been accepted into the military if this was the case.
  • Bob, the reasonable one 2010/01/20 19:43:31
    Other...please elaborate...
    Bob, the reasonable one
    +1
    The surviving family need no letter from the president...I expect no letter from the president when I pass away, and I'm retired military...that request is just plain rediculous...as for benefits of a burial stipend....it isn't much so I have no problem with that....the life insurance policy of (250,000 dollars or more) I have a problem with..when you sign up it is strictly for accidental or enemy fire and the service member knows it....if he thinks that by killing himself that his family is set, will set a terrible precedent...and it is wrong...
  • TexanIn... Bob, th... 2010/01/20 20:07:04
    TexanInHawaii
    +1
    I think you missed the point on the letter....I am speaking of ACTIVE DUTY, of course retired don't expect it.
    And, you are absolutely correct on the SGLIC benny....but, a burial stipend, I'm still arguing with myself about.
    Thanks for the input!
  • Bob, th... TexanIn... 2010/01/20 21:01:38
    Bob, the reasonable one
    +1
    it's only 250 bucks...I'm willing to let that slide and not lose any sleep over it...govt. will waste more money on studies of the sex lives of sea slugs...
  • TexanIn... Bob, th... 2010/01/20 21:06:50
    TexanInHawaii
    +1
    LMAO...you got that right!!
  • Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    MIZ®  ₱д₸Ɽ¡Ö₸ ₩дⱤⱤ¡ÖⱤ   †
    +2
    I really don't know Texan..... that is a hard one.
    My first reaction is YES of COURSE!! But then to think of the specifics.... I'm thinking that they should receive benefits, but perhaps not the same ones.. and/or with stipulations...
    Have they actually fought in a war? It would also help to know how extensive the mental evals are for those entering the military.
  • TexanIn... MIZ® ₱... 2010/01/20 18:13:13
    TexanInHawaii
    +1
    See? It is a conundrum!! (Big word for the day)

    I have this idea nagging at me & am very conflicted about it. Just wanting more input.
  • MIZ® ₱... TexanIn... 2010/01/20 18:41:04
    MIZ®  ₱д₸Ɽ¡Ö₸ ₩дⱤⱤ¡ÖⱤ   †
    +1
    This was written in Nov '09!:

    "As of Tuesday, at least 334 members of the military services have committed suicide in 2009, compared with 297 killed in Afghanistan and 144 who died in Iraq, the figures show."


  • TexanIn... MIZ® ₱... 2010/01/20 18:56:47
    TexanInHawaii
    +1
    I KNOW!! That's scary!

    What started this was a couple of Dems, Patrick Kennedy and somebody, simply asked that the POTUS (whomever is happens to be) send a condolence letter to the family as they do for any other military member that dies while on active duty.

    THAT, I agree with. That mother. father, wife, husband, child, etc lost a family member...and THEY deserve that much. Their pain is JUST as real, and just as devastating (if not more so, due to the stigma).

    Then, I got to thinking....and, that's where it got out of hand...=P
  • MIZ® ₱... TexanIn... 2010/01/21 05:20:22
    MIZ®  ₱д₸Ɽ¡Ö₸ ₩дⱤⱤ¡ÖⱤ   †
    +1
    I agree with you- The family is the one who's receiving some kind of acknowledgment that the service their child, spouse, parent gave to our country was appreciated - that's a tremendous sign of support that they could really use at that time of their lives. I agree with that all the way.
  • MindReader MIZ® ₱... 2010/02/22 01:33:58
    MindReader
    +1
    another good reason to get the hell out of afghanistan and iraq. reason afghanistan iraq
  • IndyLinda 2010/01/17 21:17:41
    Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    IndyLinda
    +4
    PTDS is real; ensuing suicide is death in war.
  • Pearlie Momi♥Patriot Warrior♥ 2010/01/07 22:19:12
    Other...please elaborate...
    Pearlie Momi♥Patriot Warrior♥
    +3
    I am not sure. But I think if you served in the Military,you should have all the care and whatever it takes to get better..Yes, all Military personel deserve treatment. If the person died in WAR, then the family should have something.
  • no1badboy56 2010/01/07 20:06:12
    No, they do not deserve the same benefits...
    no1badboy56
    It belittles those that do fight for their country.
  • Daryl 2010/01/07 18:01:37
    Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    Daryl
    +5
    Obama doesn't want tax dollars to go to those who actually earned them.
  • ducdodger 2010/01/07 18:01:06
    No, they do not deserve the same benefits...
    ducdodger
    +1
    As a Vet I say no to suicide benefits. When the kill them selves they take the cowards way out.
  • Mike Du... ducdodger 2012/04/13 17:32:44
    Mike Dunlap
    Go F#$% yourself!
  • ducdodger Mike Du... 2012/04/18 18:24:21
    ducdodger
    Hey there is plenty of help if they want it. I spent plenty of time in a combat zone and made it through fine. But I do like you intelligent reply
  • lou ducdodger 2012/05/26 18:17:09
    lou
    +1
    Oh and PTSD contributes in no way to suicide then? How can you say no when you know that PTSD is a contributor to it due to combat?
  • ducdodger lou 2012/05/29 19:03:17
    ducdodger
    Like I said before there are plenty of places out there for vets to get help. If they don't want to get it thats there choice. The reral problem is that the current basic treaining is not preparing our soldiers for what they are seing in combat. The new low stress training is coming at a cost to our fighting men and women. When I went through basic and AITin 83, it was three times more stressfull than what is going on now. Most of the people who went trough training when I did are not suffering like the kids goin through training now.
  • Jackie G - Poker Playing Pa... 2010/01/07 17:39:07
    No, they do not deserve the same benefits...
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    +1
    I had a psychiatrist explain to me that the act of committing suicide is a decision that a person makes knowingly (not talking about accidental suicide such as that guy who played Joker), a permanent solution to what is always temporary problems. They make the decision centered on self - not their family, not their community etc. Self and self alone. It is very sad and even devastating for those left behind but they should not recieve the benefits same as those extended to others.
  • mach-1 BL-106 2010/01/07 15:41:01
    No, they do not deserve the same benefits...
    mach-1  BL-106
    +1
    NO...You can't glorify taking ones life for what ever the depression...No one gets a award or a note from the POTUS if they do it in the public.
    It shows that this president has no respect for life...Like his stance on abortion...
    If they are sick mentaly in the war they need to seek treatment and be sent out of the war zone and taken care of. No special treatment other than that....An office job for their duration...then an honorable discharge.... My opinion...
  • Waiting mach-1 ... 2010/01/07 15:59:55
    Waiting
    +4
    It is a very tough thing to reach out for help sometimes, especially when you feel no one can understand, but so far no one has.
  • TexanIn... Waiting 2010/01/07 16:12:47
    TexanInHawaii
    +1
    Good point Waiting...
  • Waiting TexanIn... 2010/01/07 16:21:43
    Waiting
    +1
    Thanks.
  • TexanIn... mach-1 ... 2010/01/07 16:12:08
    TexanInHawaii
    +3
    Thank you, Mach-1 for your opinion.

    May I propose a hypothetical? Say a man/woman has given 15 years to the military, and by this time they have some NCO rank, but there are things that haunt them from their duty. They feel they can't seek medical help as it would adversely affect their job, but just can't go on anymore. Isn't this a "job related injury"? Should their familes, who do contribute too, be denied benefits? Have they not lost a loved one in this war like the same mother, father, wife, children, that lost a loved one to an IED or sniper? Didn't they all lose a family member to war?

    I'd love to hear more of your opinion on this subject...I do want both sides...thanks!
  • mach-1 ... TexanIn... 2010/01/08 03:40:32
    mach-1  BL-106
    +1
    I am not ever saying that they deserve no help..on the contrary...they need lots of help and understanding...The rule on mental issues in the military surely needs addressed and updated so they can receive help without being penalized...I feel no special reward for suicide is necessary...It is tragic and sad....and most people who take there lives are not thinking of the ones left behind ...they would not do it if they were concerned for them....suicide is not a brave way out...
    And it smack the soldier who was killed by warfare and showed bravery .I can't imagine the suicide rate is that high in the military...none the less...I still am against paying benefits for people who take their own lives.
    Should we pay for the poor persons family who one day he decides life is not worth living because the economy has taken his house and his job and financially ruined him? ect.
    No .....It is not right ,fair , or just....to all who struggle everyday with making it..
    the same is true for the military in my book...I hope I don't sound harsh as I have total respect for the military and their family's ...
  • TexanIn... mach-1 ... 2010/01/08 03:55:13
    TexanInHawaii
    +1
    Thanks, mach-1. I too would like to see the seeking of help as a positive action and not treated as the stigma that it has been in the past. I would love to think we have evolved into a more compassionate culture than those in the past when confronted with "shell shock", "battle fatigue, etc. Seems this issue has always been around, but we named it something different for each war.
    I see your point of the person that loses his house, job, etc. But, I would say that he is different than the soldier that has gone on as far as he can in a wartime situation serving his country.
    Basically, this topic started out as President Obama being urged to write letters of condolences to the family of the soldier that has passed due to suicide. And, some feel that service member should also be extended burial services.
    Should we exclude the victims of auto accidents, physiological illness, and other non-service related deaths? Should only active duty service members that are KIA by enemy forces receive that letter and burial?
  • mach-1 ... TexanIn... 2010/01/08 13:05:44
    mach-1  BL-106
    Well I think you know my answer on this.
    I don 't know what goes through a person mind before suicide....But I can imagine depression is obvious to anyone around that person...But again what drove them there in the 1st place could be a personal problem and not a military problem...We are assuming that is suicide is brought on by war ...and it may not be in all cases...they could have been sick before entering the service and more than likely were...depression tendency is a long time issue..Maybe a mental evaluation in a non- draft time war is the answer.

    Personally a letter from this president would mean very little to me in format.
    Again how can you ask other member of the service to honor this death at burial? It is not right... NOT a military burial
    As they killed Themselves while in the service .And that deed alone sends a depressing statement for all actively serving.
    Benefits No...No reward...
  • Mike Du... TexanIn... 2012/04/13 17:36:47
    Mike Dunlap
    +1
    Thank you!!!
  • Mike Du... mach-1 ... 2012/04/13 17:35:39
    Mike Dunlap
    Your opion is shi$!! P.T.S. is a side affect of war, war gave this to them and ended up killing them. They diserve respect! You'll be biting your tounge if you lost someone very close to you from it!
  • mach-1 ... Mike Du... 2012/04/14 01:18:57
    mach-1  BL-106
    I have lost someone in war who is dear to me.....They stood up and fought BRAVELY.... and shame on the person who cheats and takes his own life...That is a coward if we are talking about war. million have learned to live with the effects and the horrors of war.....

    And frankly your opinion means nothing to me !
  • Fannie 2010/01/07 15:36:37
    Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    Fannie
    +4
    you can't seperate the mind from the body! The medical issues should be treated for all veterans.
  • TexanIn... Fannie 2010/01/07 15:46:14
    TexanInHawaii
    +2
    Thank you, Fannie...that is another way of looking at it too.
  • Informed Voter 2010/01/07 15:08:56
    Yes, they deserve the same benefits...
    Informed Voter
    +2
    After a line-of-duty determination is completed, I'd say (on the whole), yes the family does deserve the same benefits. Unless you were there, you don't know the 'true' horrors of war. I'm not talking about the Hollywood wars, but individual experiences.

    Survivor's remorse is a big contributor to many military suicides. This is not a problem that manifests itself during the battle, but sometimes years afterward. Yes, they volunteered to join the military, but who really knows what they're capable of achieving (or not) until you are placed in the situation?

    If they raised their hands and swore to lay down their lives to defend the nation... did they not just do so?
  • TexanIn... Informe... 2010/01/07 15:44:37
    TexanInHawaii
    +3
    Good points, IV.

    Aren't the emotional wounds just as valid as the physical wounds?

    Some people say that suicide is the "coward's way out", but I would think it would take a lot of gumption to go that route. There is a lot of pain involved, IMHO, to drive a person to such a desperate destination.

    And, did they not "give their life" in a manner of speaking?

    I have been struggling with this topic for weeks now, attempting to analyze both sides of this issue. Thanks for your comments.
  • Mike Du... TexanIn... 2012/04/13 17:47:51
    Mike Dunlap
    PTS Is real, My best friend's brother from 1 years old just took his own life last night. He was fine before he went to war, cam back with demands and tried fighting them for years, we got help and lost his battle to the demonds. I love him, he was a good man, and whatever happend to him at war time and was told do to he could not live with. I talked with him during his fight with these demonds and the only reason he hadnt took his own life was because of his family.. But whatever it was that his officers made his team do in war made him have nightmares for years and years... War killed him! The gov should atleast pay for his funeral!
  • Waiting 2010/01/07 14:54:54
    No, they do not deserve the same benefits...
    Waiting
    +1
    Depression is a horrible disease.
  • TexanIn... Waiting 2010/01/07 15:45:17
    TexanInHawaii
    +1
    Yes, it is, Waiting...and it comes in so many forms.

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