Mission 22 is a charity whose mission is to diminish veteran suicide. We’ve partnered with them to provide mental training to help them achieve their mission. Magnus Johnson, one of their founders, wrote an article, Canary in the Coal Mine, that gives helpful insight into what veteran mental health means for all of us. We’re all in a coal mine, confined together in our society. Veterans’ experiences with trauma, depression, and suicide tell us a lot about how our own lives are impacted. Veteran issues are the canary that informs us of dangers ahead for all of us. We should heed veteran issues, help them heal, so we all can heal.
Magnus begins… “Because of the added stress of military service, veterans were the first to begin to take their lives by suicide at an alarming rate in America. In 2012, twenty-two veterans succumbed to suicide daily (Kemp & Bossarte, 2012). Currently, healthcare providers are well aware of the rising suicide trends in college students, veterinarians, and Caucasian men (Centers for Disease Control, 2020; David, 2019; Tomasi et al., 2019). Why is suicide a growing cause of death in many demographics in America?
“Suicide can be a choice of those who have not integrated spiritual meaning in their physical lives fully. Integration of purpose must be achieved internally and derive in part from our communities. We are not separate, and we are not purely logical mental constructions. We are shared heartbeats, co-creators in the drama of consciousness. When one of us places our sanity and health on the sacrificial altar and is not honored or acknowledged, our individual and shared life force dwindles…
“Civilians are beginning to succumb to the despair of existence without collective meaning and value. The cure for this lies not exclusively with academics, therapists, or experts. The treatment for the ailment is a conscious effort to ascribe, create, and engage in our meaning, symbolically, emotionally, and physically. The mother of children is a bringer of life. The elderly are our dispensers of wisdom. Our students are our hope. Our warriors are our heart.”
Magnus leaves us with a warning and a call to action:
“My warning: Modern veterans are the canary in the coal mine; the rest of us should notice these alarming suicide rates and abandon the environment we are excavating and supporting. We are going too far in the wrong direction.
“We cannot forget that we are in this together. As a nation, we have separated ourselves from the modern warrior, our elderly, and our children. Our focus is on the superficial and the empty. If we wish to preserve life, then we must honor meaning and purpose individually and collectively.”
Read the full article on LinkedIn.