Public Policy Meeting Devoted to Suicide Prevention

Public Policy Meeting Devoted to Suicide Prevention

The Agenda

The meeting under consideration occurred in 2019 and was devoted to suicide prevention for people currently serving in the military and veterans. It aimed to find the solution to the issue through a constructive discussion (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). The meeting involved experts from the government and academia and military medical specialists (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). The agenda points included discussing the increasing suicide rates, identifying the factors leading to them, and suggesting preventive strategies, which will form the policy’s basis (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). During the first part of the meeting, each speaker had a 5-minute report, and the rest was devoted to a discussion among the participants (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019)Public Policy Meeting Devoted to Suicide Prevention. Thus, the event had all the agenda points discussed without imposing strict time limits.


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The Background and the Committee

The committee involved in the meeting is the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel. Its primary responsibilities include establishing policies, compensating military staff, being in charge of health care, and supervising nominations (“Subcommittees,” n.d.). It has an extensive reach from aspiring soldiers in schools to veterans (“Subcommittees,” n.d.). It was the committee’s alarming statistics about suicide rates among service members under 30 years, which comprise most of the personnel, and veterans that prompted the meeting (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019)Public Policy Meeting Devoted to Suicide Prevention. Despite the efforts to mitigate the issue, the number of suicides only grew (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Overall, considering the subcommittee’s responsibilities, it was logical to use its resources to address the problem.

The Factors Affecting the Rates

Various factors are at the root of the increasing suicide rates among the demographic in question. While it is difficult to identify the universal reasons due to the phenomenon’s complexity, the participants acknowledged several common spheres influencing one’s risk of committing suicide (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). First of all, it is personal factors, which may include mental disorders, substance and alcohol abuse, and using the Veterans Health Administration’s services (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). On the communal level, the fear of being discharged for reporting psychological issues and insufficient mental care funding are relevant (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). The social sphere concerns universal screening, the attitude towards suicide and the associated issues, and the trial-and-error nature of treatment (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Altogether, suicide is a complex phenomenon with unique circumstances surrounding each victim, and while community and national prevention services can be useful, the focus should be on the individual, too.

The Stakeholders

As far as the issue of the increasing suicide rates among the established demographics is concerned, the stakeholders are numerous. They include the government, civilians, the military, service members at risk, and veterans. All the parties wish to change the situation, and each had a representative at the meeting (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). While they have different interests (the military, for example, does not want to lose valuable personnel, and civilians fear losing a family member), everyone shares the same goal (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Overall, the stakeholders were uniform in their positions, although some are more affected by the issue than others.

The Key Interactions

The discussion part of the meeting provided the ground for addressing specific cases and offering recommendations. One interaction covered a military unit in Alaska, which had ten completed suicides and one attempt during an 18-month period, which was concerning, considering the overall size (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). The experts shared their weighted opinions on the potential causes, citing the harsh environment, mood shifts, and the feeling of isolation, and suggested preventive measures (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Another case involved suicide risks and evaluated whether the zero-tolerance policy and the existing conditions of seeking mental support are efficient in reducing them (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Those measures appear to be flawed, as bullying and hazing still occur, and the guidelines for mental care providers are vague, although the specialists are trying to amend them (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). A compelling interaction addressed the progress and drawbacks in Arizona, notorious for its anomalously high rates of veteran suicides, especially among women (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019)Public Policy Meeting Devoted to Suicide Prevention. The discussion helped apply the general concepts to particular cases.

The Outcomes

The meeting achieved several important conclusions which will be used for the public policy. First, the participants identified that most veterans live in rural areas, so mental care services are not available to them, meaning that more work is required in that field (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Second, the means to mitigate the suggested risk factors are in development, including confidential reporting of issues, normalization of discussing psychological problems, and the surveying of potential military members (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Third, it is essential to establish cooperation between the local and the federal levels and the connection among such institutions as the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, and education (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). It will ensure the implementation of the previous suggestions and enable the sharing of efficient initiatives from one community or state with the rest of the country (“Soldier and veteran suicide prevention,” 2019). Thus, the policy may improve the situation with the suicide rates and save lives. Public Policy Meeting Devoted to Suicide Prevention

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