Hawaii sees rise in military suicides

Redheart

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Hawaii sees rise in military suicides | More Local News - KITV Home

A suicide on an Oahu hiking trail over the weekend brings to light that tragic statistic and also the high number of military suicides happening in Hawaii.

Along with drills to prepare for dangerous missions in war zones around the world, Hawaii's Army soldiers go through training to help spot another potential killer.

"All soldiers are required to go through an hour and a half of annual training gearing up for suicide prevention," said Brent Oto, who heads the Army's suicide prevention program.

The program aims to drop the number of active duty deaths.

According to the Department of Health, 46 suicides over the past 5 years were believed to be active service members. That’s 5% of the total number of 950 suicides statewide during that time.

Those numbers don't take into account veterans, reservists, or members of the National Guard, which means the military suicide rate is even higher.

"When it comes to something like suicide it can affect anyone at any time. Whether you're a soldier or a civilian...anyone," Oto said.

The latest military suicide happened over on Kuliouou Trail. The medical examiner determined the 35-year-old Mililani man shot himself in the head. He was confirmed to be a U.S. Army soldier.

While war takes its toll on those who serve, some soldiers said during those missions they are focused and part of a team which watches out for one another.

Coming home can be traumatic, they said, as they no longer have that sense of purpose and may be burdened with a different kind of stress or even relationship issues, which is why Oto said soldier suicides happen more frequently – six months to a year after they return.

"When soldiers come back from a deployment, it is a transitional issue whether it is family problems, stress or even financial problems that occur after the deployment," Oto said.

The Army has been highlighting resources available for those who are overwhelmed. It now encourages others to take a more active approach to help by taking the time to talk with fellow soldiers.

But why aren't more in the military asking for help?

Some soldiers said they were initially worried about the stigma of having suicidal thoughts, had concerns about their career, or a fear of looking weak instead of being Army strong.

"For the soldiers that come forward, that is not a sign of weakness. They show a lot of bravery to come forward and get help," Oto added.
 

ke gordon

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This is just such a disturbing fact, and unfortunately it is way to common in the U.S. military it seems, especially with those who return to civilian life. It is especially disturbing that these suicides take place in a lovely and beautiful area like Hawaii, that is a paradise for the rest of the world. God Rest their Souls.
 

joshposh

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I know a lot of guys that come out of war time and they cannot or find it extremely difficult to cope with civilian life. They are totally different people when they return. To be honest some shouldn't be let out without seeking treatment, because they are too radical and can flip out at any time. They have seen and done things that majority of us have never been asked to do. Once you cross that line, you can never come back the same person again.
 

Corzhens

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I wonder why only 5% of the military suicides are active. Does that mean the 95% are all shell shocked veterans? I had seen a movie a long time ago. The title is Homecoming, about a soldier coming home and couldn't adjust to normal life. If I remember correctly, the wife was Jane Fonda. Anyway, that movie showed the psychological effect of war on an ordinary man which had scarred not only his body but also his mind.
 
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