Studies by the Army, the Defense Department, Rand Corp. and others cite the same reasons why troops with mental health issues don’t seek help: fear of being seen as “weak,” inadequate access to care, concern that asking for help can hurt a career, and guilt about letting battle buddies go out on patrol without them.
Among the troubling factors is that, like McKinney, many of those who choose suicide aren’t young first-tour junior troops. Forty-seven percent of soldiers who have killed themselves in theater are older than 30. And half were in paygrades E-5 or above. Experts are concerned that it’s harder to spot signs of potential suicide in such war-hardened veterans.
McKinney’s family believes that if his chain of command had paid closer attention to the symptoms, his death might have been avoided. And they hope that by talking about it now, months after his death, they might help prevent other suicides.
This isn’t people who don’t know what war is about. It’s people who do. Read the whole damn thing. The whole story reeks of people who just didn’t want to see that there was any kind of problem, didn’t even bother to think that going without sleep for days on end is really a bad idea.