Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Suicide is NOT the Solution!" - Budget Cutting Is?

commentary by Roger Erickson

Army Post Bucks Trend, Sees Suicide Rate Progress

This article really forces comparison of individual and national-suicide.

First, do all citizens know what national-suicide is, and how to recognize it's warning signs, early on?  The therapies are analogous.  Distributed life-support for individuals, and distributed income-support for our economy.  This ain't rocket science.

Yet there is so much confusion - with people at every level of all institutions not knowing WHY they're doing what they're doing. Our distributed, national-situational-awareness is abysmal, which is, of course, exactly why we're floundering.

"Fort Campbell, which in 2009 led the Army in suicides, has spent the last several years taking what the Army sees as drastic steps toward suicide prevention education. In 2008, it became the first post in the Army to hire a suicide prevention manager."

[rge: Wow!  If the methods described are considered drastic, we really are in trouble.  In addition to their stated goal - reducing individual suicide rates - at least the DoD is accidentally reducing our chances of national suicide as well.  They're spending more, more widely, and allowing another bit of aggregate demand, by providing salaries for more psychiatrists. Whatever!  It may be incidental, but it's an economy-saving start.  They're spending more currency income into our economy, so we can at least use that circulating currency to denominate pent-up real demand.]

"In still another program, the post has assigned a pharmacist to monitor the post’s soldiers who have been prescribed four or more medications, including one psychotropic, to make sure they both still need the medications and are taking them properly."

[rge: Oh lord!  Yes, it's still more income for a token few more people, but is the solution to stressful situations really to simply stay in them, and take drugs?  How about drastically accelerating reexamination of both the situation and our response options, i.e., how individuals, groups and our entire nation can manage or re-shape the situation?  We COULD consider changing policy, a wee bit faster?]

'Coupled with the Army-wide “standdown” suicide prevention training days scheduled for this week, yet another program piloted at Fort Campbell in 2009, the steps toward prevention seem to be doing something that has eluded other Army programs -- working.'

Poll: Is Military Suicide Preventable?

[rge: Ok, I'd like to take an informal poll. Is national-suicide preventable? Please simply comment here with a vote NS: yes, or NS: no.]

"Military suicides are historically linked to the 90 days before a deployment and the 90 days afterward, Varney said. "

[rge: Hmmm.  You have to wonder if that claim would hold up historically, for national-suicide before/after disastrous policy choices.  Seems obvious.]

"Army ... health care officials and .. chaplain ... teaching soldiers to not only recognize the signs of suicide in themselves and seek help, but even more importantly, to watch for signs in their friends and reach out on their behalf."

[rge: For Pete's sake! How long will it take us to scale up that same skill regarding national-suicide?]

'“A keen observer can tell when someone is under [suicidal] stress,” Varney said. “We have to teach people to know the signs and tell someone when they see someone else exhibiting those signs. … People don’t want to get into each other’s business. But that’s not the solution.”'

[rge: So far, so good. Now, how about when an entire economy is under stress? Can we get people to LISTEN to our existing keen observers?]

'"The programs across post look to focus on prevention as well, with “the entire community working together,” said Laura Boyd, a spokesman for Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. They aim to teach every medical provider to spot the signs of suicide, and every leader and worker to intervene, regardless of whether they are in the mental health field.
Still, there is one group on the outside of most of the Army and Fort Campbell’s suicide prevention training efforts: military families.'

[rge: So, let me ask all of us US citizens. Why can't we scale up those simple practices noted here, so we can have have more people spot the signs of suicidal national policy - soon enough?]

'“We spend every day asking ourselves the question of how we can get the word out about all of these programs,” Varney said.'

[rge: How about improving distributed situational-awareness, and thereby start down the path to altering the root causality?  Isn't that called an adequately informed electorate?]
'“Essentially, we know what leads people to suicide -- it’s stress,” Varney said. “What we don’t know is who has the ability to relieve that stress.”'

[rge: ?? Sure we do! It's us. That's what social species DO!!! ]


Anonymous said...

Has anyone read the monetary economics primer over at Mecpoc?

Tom Hickey said...

Only parts of it.

John Zelnicker said...

Roger -- It seems the PTB don't want an informed electorate. And the electorate seems to be acquiescing in this ignorance. Too many people are content to be led by the appeals to emotional biases and prejudices. It's easier than thinking.

Our educational system is abdicating its responsibility to teach critical thinking (cf. the Texas Republican Party Platform). And many smart people seem to have adopted the Randian position of "I'm gonna get mine and screw everyone else."

Our "one nation...indivisible and with liberty and justice for all" is being splintered into self-serving, self-interested affinity groups with zero situational awareness beyond their own small circle.

I have learned a lot from your essays and comments, but I am still at a loss in figuring out just exactly how to reach these people.

Poll: NS: Yes, if..., otherwise No.

Matt Franko said...


imo what would help would be if someone who was highly regarded found themselves in paradigm and came out and scolded the economic academe and econ policymakers for getting this completely WRONG for so long...

We are the "peanut gallery" in this... some may listen to us but we are not looked upon as an authority on this topic...

good point on the Randianism that follows this ignorance and as your evidence Romney actually picks the political patron of the Ayn Rand lovers of America Society for VEEP... go figure...


paul meli said...

I don't know Roger, mass suicide by the oligarchs seems like a possible solution.

Roger Erickson said...

Oligarchs do commit mass suicide. They execute it through triggered suicide of the serfs they parasitize.

In short, they commit suicide through our national suicide. They're always the last to know, though.