Memorial Day for Service members who completed Suicide
Memorial Day is just around the corner. It is a day the nation remembers all the service members who died for this country. All except the ones who completed suicide.
Last year Veterans Counseling Veterans and Post 5 held a “Florida Lives Matter” Memorial Day/Rally. We chose the 22 May to acknowledge the 22 a day Veteran suicide rate in the U.S. We chose to combine our memorial with a rally to show we haven’t forgotten and we care.
Are those who completed suicide also remembered on Memorial day? Even if the answer is “Yes”, would survivors attend a Memorial Day event? They would have to endure hearing how heroic the veterans being observed were and thanking them for their sacrifice. They would have to suffer in silence as TAPs is played. The biggest tragedy from someone completing suicide is the emotional wreck it leaves the survivors. The survivors are left to explain how they lost their loved one at Memorial Day events. The survivors would have to re-experience the sense of guilt and bewilderment from their lost. Lastly, they may feel isolated and alone, feeling no one can understand how they feel. That is why we should remember the service members who completed suicide on a separate day
Having a separate day dedicated to those who completed suicide will help reduce the stigma of losing someone from suicide and at the same time provide comfort from the others there for the same reason. It is important if you decide to have a memorial for survivors of suicide to have mental health counselors there to address any emotional stress.
If we want to eliminate the stigma of suicide, we have to provide emotional and physical support to the survivors as well as potential suicide ideations.