Experts say military suicides are preventable - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Experts say military suicides are preventable

Posted: Updated:

Military suicides hit a record high in 2012. Some fear the rate will climb in the coming years as troops return from Afghanistan.  One local woman says action can be taken to help those who suffer from the mental stress associated with military life.

"If you were to try to talk about your emotions and things that you're feeling as far as war and things of that nature, very few people understand," said Penny Bailey.

Bailey is a retired Airforce colonel and the wife of an active duty Air Force physician. Unless you are in the military, or part of a military family, Bailey says it's often difficult to fully understand the challenges.

"Whereas we are very proud of our troops we really don't know how to help them or support them," she said.

More than two-thousand service members took their own lives over the last decade. Military suicides happened at a record pace in the year 2012, with an average of one suicide every 25 hours.

"A lot of our young men and women have gone over seas and all of these IEDs have exploded and they've seen their friends lose arms and legs and they're right there trying to save their life," said Bailey.

Combat isn't the only trigger for stress and depression. Bailey says sometimes what civilians consider ordinary, can be a major problem for military families.

She says she went from having a tremendous amount of responsibility in the military, to deciding what time of day to vacuum her house.

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Sonnek, Ph.D. is the Chief of Psychology for the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The facility is located on the grounds of Lackand Air Force Base.

"Suicide rates were rising in the early 2000s prior to the economic downturn and it seems to have gotten even worse since then. It's really hard to put your finger on one thing," said Sonnek.

It's difficult to pinpoint an exact cause, but there are common triggers.

"We know within the military some of the main risk factors are relationship problems. Actually that's the most common risk factor in suicides," he said.

Which is why both Sonnek and bailey say it's important for people who are not in the military to treat those who are with  respect.

"Some of the most annoying things to combat operators are things like "how many bad guys did you kill?" or "tell me about your experiences". I think there has to be a respect for if they want to keep that separately and if they want to tell you they will," said Sonnek.

"We need them to have this transition time to get back into life and to realize that there is something more for them," said Bailey.

Having a support system is important. Bailey has organized a group that provides support for military families. The group is designed for local military families to discuss their challenges, network and provide support for one another.

For more information contact Penny Bailey at penny4al.gmail.com

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • 1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:58:15 GMT
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Birmingham security talks underway for Magic City Classic, Dalai Lama visit

    Birmingham security talks underway for Magic City Classic, Dalai Lama visit

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:46 PM EDT2014-09-01 18:46:22 GMT
    This year's Magic City Classic week in Birmingham may be a classic one for security. That's because the annual game is happening the same week as the Dalai Lama's multi-day visit to the city, as ABC 33/40More >>
    Security preps.More >>
  • UPDATE: Car belonging to elderly stabbing victim found

    UPDATE: Car belonging to elderly stabbing victim found

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:25 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:25:46 GMT
    Birmingham police say a neighbor found the woman lying on the floor of her house on the 600 block of 39th Street South Sunday evening. They believe she was the victim of a burglary and was stabbed to death.More >>
    Birmingham police say a neighbor found the woman lying on the floor of her house on the 600 block of 39th Street South Sunday evening. They believe she was the victim of a burglary and was stabbed to death.More >>
  • Man surrenders after shooting in Tuscaloosa

    Man surrenders after shooting in Tuscaloosa

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:15 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:15:16 GMT
    Tuscaloosa police have charged 31-year-old Teira Sherman with assault. Investigators say early Monday morning, police were called to 3100 block of 20th Street on a shooting. When they arrived, they found a 28-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. He was taken to DCH where he is being treated. Investigators spoke with witnesses and they were able to identify the suspect as Sherman. Investigators say it appears Sherman was involved in a fight at a local club and drove to the ...More >>
    Tuscaloosa police have charged 31-year-old Teira Sherman with assault. Investigators say early Monday morning, police were called to 3100 block of 20th Street on a shooting. When they arrived, they found a 28-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. He was taken to DCH where he is being treated. Investigators spoke with witnesses and they were able to identify the suspect as Sherman. Investigators say it appears Sherman was involved in a fight at a local club and drove to the ...More >>
  • Police: two people dead, two injured in motorcycle club shooting

    Police: two people dead, two injured in motorcycle club shooting

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:50:11 GMT
    Two people are dead and two others have non-life threatening injuries from a shooting at a Birmingham motorcycle club Sunday. Police say a verbal fight between members of two motorcycle clubs lead to the fatal shooting.More >>
    Two people are dead and two others have non-life threatening injuries from a shooting at a Birmingham motorcycle club Sunday. Police say a verbal fight between members of two motorcycle clubs lead to the fatal shooting.More >>
  • Join us for WOOFstock this weekend (Sept. 6, 2014)

    Join us for WOOFstock this weekend (Sept. 6, 2014)

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:52 AM EDT2014-09-01 12:52:22 GMT
    Is your dog ready for WOOFstock this weekend? It's an annual event in Hoover that draws thousands to Veterans Park on Valleydale.More >>
    Is your dog ready for WOOFstock this weekend? It's an annual event in Hoover that draws thousands to Veterans Park on Valleydale.More >>
  • UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:04 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:04:24 GMT
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
  • Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:18:57 GMT
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
  • 1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:58:15 GMT
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>