Rangel's Veteran Day Appeal Sheds Light on Far-Reaching Epidemic of Military Suicide, says Faith-based Website

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Effective military suicide prevention and treatment strategies need to include faith-based, spiritual elements, followme.org says.

Representative Charlie Rangel

US House Representative Charlie Rangel at campaign event on October 2, 2010

This dialogue is too important to our national security and the lives of our soldiers to exclude the input of effective faith-based organizations.

The rising trend of suicide in the military calls for attention to "spiritual risk factors" among soldiers, says faith-based website, followme.org.

That statement came today as Congressman Charlie Rangel on Sunday published an editorial in USA Today detailing the extent of the suicide epidemic in America's armed forces. Rangel, a veteran himself, represents New York's 15th district in the US House of Representatives.

Rangel began his impassioned letter by citing that 18 veterans and one active-duty soldier take their lives each day. "This is simply unacceptable," he wrote in the Sunday editorial.

Rangel's article focuses on the conditions that lead to veterans' suicide upon returning from battle. "With depression and untreated mental illnesses being the major causes of suicide, it is important that we recognize the signs of depression and take action to help those who are in need before it is too late," Rangel wrote.

Citing the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder present in soldiers returning from Afghanistan, Rangel argues that policymakers need to "have a serious discussion about the root causes of veteran suicides."

But which voices need to be involved in that discussion? One non-profit says that policymakers need to consider the spiritual side of suicide. Followme.org is a faith-based website that provides spiritual resources for soldiers wrestling with suicidal thoughts, and its leaders argue that any "serious discussion" must involve the various causes of depression, including spiritual ones.

"Any 'serious discussion' about the nature of suicide in the military needs to encompass the spiritual stress and duress that combat causes. Faith-based organizations have studied these spiritual risk factors among civilians for years. This dialogue is too important to our national security and the lives of our soldiers to exclude the input of effective faith-based organizations," said Pastor Jamie of followme.org.

For more information, please visit http://www.followme.org. Followme.org is a ministry of ShoutChurch.tv.

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Jeff White
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