Military suicide awareness month

Published 10:36 pm Sunday, September 12, 2021

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Polk County proclaims September as military suicide awareness month

COLUMBUS—The Polk County Board of Commissioners recognized military suicides by approving a proclaiming claiming September as military suicide awareness month in Polk County. 

Commissioners met Monday with local veterans. 

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Polk County Commissioner Chair Tommy Melton read the resolution. 

He said there are 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. 

Military suicides have reached four times higher than combat deaths and are up almost 18 percent over the last few years. 

“This morning when you got up and tonight when you go to bed, 22 veterans will have committed suicide,” Melton said. “That’s horrible. I can’t wrap my head around it.” 

Commissioners unanimously approved the following proclamation: 

Military Suicide Awareness Proclamation

WHEREAS, military suicides have reached numbers “four times” higher than combat deaths and are up 17.8% over the last few years.

WHEREAS, more female veterans are committing suicide than ever before.

WHEREAS, the VA estimates that a Veteran will commit suicide every sixty-five minutes. That is 22 per day, 7,300 suicides a year, and 20% of all American suicides.

WHEREAS, frequent deployments, the stress of combat, and prolonged separation from families have increased strain on military personnel and their families; and

WHEREAS, as more news comes out of Kabul and Afghanistan, it has been very painful for many Veterans, especially for the Afghanistan Veterans, families, survivors, and caregivers in the Veteran’s workforce. It’s natural and understandable for all Veterans and VA employees to experience a range of emotions about these gut-wrenching developments in Afghanistan.

WHEREAS, the actions in Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, some Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. Others may feel moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s entirely normal to feel this way, and you are not alone.

WHEREAS, military personnel are reluctant to ask for help when they are depressed, and untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide among military personnel; and

WHEREAS, military personnel are encouraged to seek help to restore balance in their lives, as well as the lives of their families, by engaging in stress relief activities, maintaining a buddy system of support so that no soldier stands alone, remembering the importance of self-care by engaging in activities that improve the state of mind, asking for help from a professional, being aware that support is available through a variety of sources, including the Veterans Administration and Suicide Prevention hotlines; and

WHEREAS, The Polk County Commissioners join the Polk County Memorial VFW Post #9116 and the Auxiliary to urge all active and former military personnel and their families to seek help for behavioral health issues.

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Board of Commissioners of Polk County, hereby declare September 2021 as “MILITARY SUICIDE AWARENESS MONTH” and September 17th as “MILITARY SUICIDE DAY” and commend its observance to all citizens.

This the 7th day of September 2021.