Suicide Prevention in a Top-Down Society
The Good Life Research Centre Trust, Rangiora, North Canterbury, New Zealand
Suicide in the Military. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, 210 pages.
A book published in 1996 on the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War with contributors from the Army, Navy, the US Administration, practitioners and academics emphasised the importance of developing appropriate suicide prevention schemes which consider the soldiers’ their families, communities and nations. In the first paragraph of the foreword it is claimed that the Gulf War affected the entire nation. But more importantly is the claim that the book provides a holistic focus for addressing the issues of war including the lessons learnt. The emphasis of the book is that only the best medical and psychological care for the military members and their families is central to the mental health and effectiveness of the army and fighting forces. This emphasis hardly constitutes a holistic focus. Since the publication of the book, the suicide rate in the Army has been on the increase and the learnt lessons were applying more of the same across all groups in society in peacetime and/or in war. This is an artefact of a top-down society, “We know best”, which is more likely to contribute to suicide than all the other factors identified in the literature due to an apparent lack of ability by the authorities to listen. However, polices that are designed to affect social, political, economic or other changes must have public protection strategies built-in as standard, backed up with a unified database. As part of a holistic approach there must be a more balanced distribution of resources, information and knowledge perhaps through a unified database, innovative thinking and research funding.