What is the life of one soldier worth?: Why not give our troops 30 days before they return home an opportunity to decompress in a setting that is equipped with mental health professionals, programs designed to return soldiers to civilian life


By —— Bio and Archives--August 3, 2017

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An article by Gregg Zoroya, “USA TODAY” highlights an issue our country is facing that needs attention and, as possible, correction. Too many people in our military are victims of suicide.

A small portion of what Mr. Zoroya wrote:

“The number of suicides among troops was 145 in 2001 and began a steady increase until more than doubling to 321 in 2012, the worst year in recent history for service members killing themselves.

The suicide rate for the Army that year was nearly 30 suicides per 100,000 soldiers, well above the national rate of 12.5 per 100,000 for 2012.”


Granted, this is an extremely complicated issue to deal with, however mental health professionals have developed protocols and treatments that are effective. The main secret to successful outcomes is to identify potential cases early and start treatment immediately.

The way our world has changed has, in the opinion of this old country boy, brought us to the perfect storm. Young soldiers being yanked from the most hostile environment and almost immediately being placed back in the real world. Today a young man or woman can be in a huge firefight, seeing their friends killed or injured on Monday and Friday night be at the Sonic in White Oak trying to visit with old friends. Not all can handle such stark change so rapidly.

Going back to WWI and WWII, troops had weeks if not months between the battlefield and home.  Today it is often only a few days, thanks to modern modes of transportation. The troops do not have time to decompress from the ravages of war before returning to the civilian mode of life.

Mental health professionals will tell you that 30 to 35 days of a rigorous program will change the habits of people.

Why not give our troops the last 30 or so days before they return home an opportunity to decompress in a setting that is equipped with mental health professionals and programs designed to return soldiers to civilian life?

The cost would be minimal in comparison to the results. For those that can handle the transition by themselves, the process would give them added tools to deal with depression and the other maladies soldiers have to deal with. For those with PTSD and other syndromes this would be the early diagnosis and treatment that they need.

What is the life of one soldier worth?

Something for our Texas Congressional delegation to give serious thought and then action.


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Jim Ross Lightfoot -- Bio and Archives | Comments

James R. Lightfoot, Lightfoot Strategies served in Congress six terms, starting in 1985 and retiring in 1997. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal and General Government (TPS) of Appropriations, he had jurisdiction over 40% of Federal Law Enforcement (Customs, Secret Service, ATF, FLETC, and IRS enforcement).

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