The U.S. Army has reported that there were 38 total confirmed or suspected suicides in its ranks in the month of July, 2012. This is the highest number of suicides in a month ever.
The Army has confirmed 120 suicides for both active- and non-active-duty soldiers in 2012, with 67 other deaths suspected as suicides but still under investigation. Twenty-five of those were attributed to soldiers who did not have any previous deployments. The Army reported 242 suicides in 2009, 305 in 2010 and 283 in 2011.
As part of its coverage of this serious issue, this week CNN carried an article titled Can Nasal Spray Prevent Military Suicides? Apparently, the Army has endorsed a grant for Dr. Michael Kubek, an Indiana University of Medicine professor, to determine whether a nasal spray could be a safe and effective way to administer a specific antidepressive neurochemical to the brain of soldiers and help calm suicidal thoughts.
I know that the Army, as well as the Navy and Air Force, has directed a lot of resources into attempting to prevent suicides. They clearly have not implemented initiatives that have been effective at reducing the incidence of suicides. So, they need to do more... but administering antidepressive neurochemicals through the nose? Come on.
The stressors that members of our Armed Services are under are significant. But choices to take one's life come from deep within their soul, spirit and mind. Any long-lasting and permanent solution to the high suicide rate will not come from administering chemicals through a pill or a spray. The solution must be at a deeper lever than that.
The solution must be spiritual, because the problem is spiritual.
Only when our military leadership recognizes that spiritual fitness must be addressed more and that it must include our Creator, God, will the suicide rates subside. The God of the Bible should be offered as the primary intervention for this suicide challenge. Through a relationship with God, and applying the wonderful 'spiritual exercises' found in His guidelines to handling life, the Bible, our soldiers will be able to much more effectively cope with the issues that cause so many to take their lives.
Pray that the leadership of our Army, and of the other Armed Services, will not go down another 'rabbit trail' that involves drugs in an attempt to solve this spiritual issue.