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As suicides among members of the U.S. military and veterans continue at a rate higher than in the general populationーat least 22 each dayーand their calls for help become more tragically blatant, with three veterans waiting for treatment outside Veterans Administration hospitals in 2019 committing suicide, authors and former U.S. Marines, Kate Hendricks Thomas and Sarah Plummer Taylor, present a call for a new approach to help halt the needless deaths.
Thomas, now a researcher and assistant professor of public health, and Plummer Taylor, now a social worker and adjunct professor, detail a plan to establish preventative training for mental fitness that will help psychologically vaccinate service members against depression and PTSD, the most common precursors to suicidal thoughts. Thomas and Plummer Taylor detail their mental fitness training program to shift from post-trauma treatment to pre-trauma prevention. Each topic addressed is illustrated with stories from veterans. Part of the solution, Thomas and Plummer Taylor explain, is to present prevention as something for all service members, and as a positive, strength-building, challenging activity for champions, as opposed to a post-trauma treatment only for weak and broken warriors.