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Army OneSource Alliance Hosts Workshop On Issues Surrounding Military Suicides

BOISE, Idaho, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As Service members return from war, most will successfully rejoin their communities, contributing advanced skills and enjoying an enhanced quality of life. However, for some, the transition will not be so simple.  Complicated by wounds that are not just physical, but behavioral, emotional and spiritual, these veterans will require advanced support as they integrate back into society.

With only 37% of military families living on a military installation, the majority of service members and families needing transition assistance will first seek services and support in the communities where they reside.   Idaho has a significant responsibility, with over 6000 Active-Duty, 4996 National Guard and Reserve and 6,065 Veterans living in the state.

The prevalence of PTSD and TBI, said to be the signature wounds of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, have resulted in an increased need for behavioral health services.  A July 2012 report found that an estimated 13 to 20 percent of service members deployed since 9/11 may have PTSD and a 2011 study showed that 6.5% of 9/11 veterans stated they were experiencing active suicidal ideation.

In addition, war zone experiences, such as committing acts that conflict with deeply held moral beliefs, can weaken religious faith, confuse core ethical beliefs, or generate feelings of shame and despair.  These moral injuries may manifest as substance abuse, violent behavior, social withdrawal and depression, or suicide.

These factors, combined with a reluctance of many service members to seek help from the VA, result in an increased dependence on local behavioral health providers, first responders and members of the faith community.  Unfortunately, many service providers and clergy are not educated on military culture and the unique behavioral health issues that may impact military families, making service members resistant to seeking their help or returning after one visit.

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