If I was speaking to a group of young people in a room who were interested in military service, I would be compelled to tell them, “You are more statistically likely to die by suicide as an active duty member or military veteran, than you are likely to be killed in combat.” Please see the graph below from the 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Report.
During this weekend of Memorial Day, as we remember those who have died in our nation’s wars and the sacrifices they have made for our country, please also say a prayer for the well-being and healing for all those veterans who have lived, and who struggle with mental health issues as a result of their military service. Pray, too, for their families, and the doctors, nurses, and mental health care professionals who strive to care for these veterans as well. Also, if you happen to watch a war movie during this weekend, notice how suffering and mental trauma is depicted by various film makers. Which films convey a helpful message about trauma and healing, and which one’s don’t?
A Prayer for those Serving in the Armed Forces:
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP p. 823)
For further reading see: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/opinion/military-suicides.html