America continues to struggle with the invisible mortal wounds of war… Many lives of warriors could be saved if the “power of stigma” could be removed!

by | Aug 6, 2013

Invisible Mortal Wounds of War…Preventing Suicide!  Click and listen to the heart wrenching clip about Jeff Lucey…and saving the lives of heroes in life after war…
Soldier Hard – Red Flags (Official Video) Addressing Veterans Suicide Issue…  Click and listen…

But the power of stigma – Jeff was totally terrified of the unit ever finding out that he was weak, that he needed help — and so Jeff refused, and that refusal continued until mid-May when we were just so overwhelmed,” Kevin said.  Kevin and Joyce had Jeffrey involuntarily committed to the VA hospital, but he was discharged three and a half days later. They tried to return him a week after that, but he refused to go inside. Then, on the afternoon of June 22nd, Jeff hanged himself in the basement of his parent’s house. The night before he died, he shared a tender moment of surrender with his father.
“He asked if he could sit in my lap as he did when he was a small boy, and we rocked for about 45 minutes in silence,” Kevin said.


If the “power of stigma” could be removed, most suicides could be prevented.   Much is being written and discussed about the acute problem of mental health stigma.  Much more needs to be done to change the mindset in society that suggests that mental health challenges are connected to “weakness.”  Men and women who train to be warriors and 1st responders, are conditioned for a very high level of mental and physical strength.  Once trained in this way, both men and women remain strong in the heat of battle while protecting the lives of innocent civilians, partners, and battle buddies.  Soldiers often take on the attitude of  “the walking dead” to be fearless.  Those men and women who survive and return home to a normal life, are often wired for danger and continue to be hypervigilant as civilians.   There is virtually no danger at home.  There is no enemy, no one to fight or protect.  Thoughts of death and carnage haunt combat veterans for a lifetime if they do not get immediate treatment.  Suicide ideation in some cases leads to the ultimate act.  There are warning signs.  We know them well…  The answer is to get warriors into treatment right away.  But we often fail because of the power of stigma.  It is the local community of family and friends that must step up to remove stigma in the treatment equation.  We are not doing a good enough job for the most part.  We have to step up and do better right now to save lives…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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