Military life and suicide

For the families and friends of men and women who were serving in the military - or were military veterens - at the time of their suicide. And to remember those whose deaths were a result of military service.
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Military life and suicide

Post by susankay » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:49 am

I often think my brother's mental illness, which led to his suicide, was caused by his time in the US Navy. He enlisted when he was about to be drafted into the Vietnam war. He wanted to go to Canada but my Dad was a Navy man and he told Mike he would never speak to him again if he did that. When I see movies that include a portrayal of boot camp I think of Mike and how much he would hate something like that. He was in the service about a year and a half before he was hospitalized and diagnosed with a nervous breakdown. He'd gone AWOL a couple of times before that. After leaving the Navy he tried to kill himself and we committed him. He was in and out of mental facilities and halfway houses for a few years. At some point he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He jumped from a building when he was 27.

He was 22 years old when he enlisted and had been in college for four years and one quarter. All this time he had the draft breathing down his neck and he didn't believe in the Vietnam war. He did ok at college and it is stressful. I can't help but blame the military for his death, and to some extent my father, although I know he was just advising Mike what he thought best. But Mike loved Mom very much and could not bear to leave the family. I always wish I'd gone to Canada with him. Could've, should've, would've. I'm still crying 37 years later.

I lost both parents this year so am revisiting my grief for Mike. Does anyone else blame military life for their loved one's death?

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Re: Military life and suicide

Post by Blossom » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:20 am

Hi susankay

I am very sorry for the loss of your parents and your brother...I can understand that the loss of your brother revisits with a sharp anguish at this time.

I cannot help you personally....this section of the forum is not well populated for some reason. Perhaps there are support group/counsellors specific to suicide related to military service via a Vietnam veteran's organisation? I'm not in your part of the world, so I cannot google and make sense of the results. There just has to be someone you can speak to in an organisation out there. Even if you make some enquiries, they might be able to give you some referrals. I hope yours is a fruitful search.
Blossom x

If nothing else, give refuge to those in need.

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Re: Military life and suicide

Post by jamjam91 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:14 am

For my dad, I know a big contributing factor was the Vietnam War. He "dealt" with it for a long time by being an alcoholic after that. Sobering up made him shut down.

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