U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill questioned the vice chiefs of the military's four branches yesterday on how they plan to improve mental health services and stop the growing number of soldier suicides.
"Our heroes need not just the protective armor of the battle field,"
McCaskill said during the hearing. "They need the availability of help
when they need it."
During the hearing, McCaskill pointed out the lack of availability of confidential mental health treatment. This leads some soldiers to forgo treatment for fear of
hurting their careers. She also noted the shortage of counselors and the need for embedded counselors with
National Guard and reserve units.
Missouri has one of the
highest rates of suicides in the National Guard.
"We've lost five members of the National Guard in Missouri already
this year to suicide," McCaskill said. "That is unacceptable."
video of McCaskill questioning General Peter Chiarelli of the
In August 2009, ex-Pitch writer Carolyn Szczepanksi wrote
about the growing
number of suicides by soldiers returning home from war.