Last week President Obama announced that he would begin to send letters of condolence to the families of troops who kill themselves in combat zones. This is a change in policy which has been advocated by many groups including families of soldiers who have died by suicide as well as many mental health professionals. One such family is that of Chance Keesling who died by suicide in June of 2010. Despite the accomplishment by the President of this important change it should be noted that the new policy still has some wording in it which make it inherently unfair and discriminatory.
The army is mistaken in saying that because of PTSD and suicides in the military, “that we are more dangerous to ourselves than the enemy.” PTSD and suicide in the military of are part of war just as injuries and other combat deaths. Soldiers injured by PTSD should get Purple Hearts and families of soldiers who die by suicide should receive a letter of condolence from the President of the United Sates.