The factors behind alarming suicide rate among women veterans
By: Renae Skinner
Jan 15, 2020
Guthmiller talked about her struggles with PTSD after she got home from deployment. She says it's a very isolating feeling.
"I would feel alone, it's nerve racking, and little things would make me nervous," Guthmiller said. "It's a really hard thing to explain."
PUEBLO — When you think of the faces of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, usually our brave men in uniform come to mind. However, one group in the military we often forget is women.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs says the suicide rate among women veterans is double that of women who don't serve.
A local veteran and professor spoke to News5 about what factors are contributing to this startling reality.
"Being in the military, we have to be strong because we are around men," Christine Guthmiller said. "We're trying to prove ourselves, and I think it's a stigma."
Guthmiller is a veteran and a financial coordinator at the Veterans Resource Center at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
According to the U.S. Office of Veterans Affairs, the suicide rate is higher among women who report military sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual discrimination and harassment-- all factors that can contribute to PTSD.
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Why did they choose to overlook combat itself?Women have served this country...including combat operations, since the Revolutionary War. They have been awarded every medal, including the Medal of Honor. They have served in every branch...even before there were branches.
So why do we still assume military women do not get hit by PTSD for all the reasons males do? Is it so hard to acknowledge their service in all respects to that service?
Since the school was opened to females in 2015, 42 women have earned the coveted Ranger tab.
U.S. Army Sgt. Danielle Farber, Pennsylvania National Guard 166th Regional Training Institute Medical Battalion Training Site instructor, and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Smiley, South Carolina National Guard military police non-commissioned officer currently serving with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, graduate U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, Dec. 13, 2019, as the first National Guard enlisted females to complete the leadership school. Smiley and Farber completed the mentally and physically challenging school, which focused on squad and platoon operations designed to prepare Soldiers to be better trained, more capable, and more resilient leaders. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Brian Calhoun) DECEMBER 17, 2019 SGT. BRIAN CALHOUN
Navy SEALs perform advanced cold weather training in Kodiak, Alaska.Eric S. Logsdon/U.S. Navy via Getty Images/File
For the first time ever, a woman has successfully completed the rigorous screening stage for the Navy SEAL officer training program, according to an independent publication Military.com.
Though she was not selected as a SEAL, the fact that she was able to make it past the screening stage is an accomplishment on its own.
Female candidates for these jobs are required to complete the same training as men. There are no special considerations based on an individual’s physical ability.
Marine Corps Recon
Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, conduct combat rubber raiding craft training on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, on July 16. (Cpl. Josue Marquez/Marine Corps)
The first female Marine has passed the Basic Reconnaissance Course and earned the 0321 reconnaissance Marine military occupational specialty, or MOS, the Marine Corps has confirmed.It is long past the time when it is OK to dismiss what has been happening to our female veterans, or pass it all off as if PTSD is all about what happened to them as the "weaker" sex. Sure, the list above are part of the reasons female veterans get hit by PTSD, but no one assumes when a male talks about PTSD it has anything other than combat attached to it.
Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth graduated from the grueling 12-week course Nov. 7, 1st Lt. Sam Stephenson, Marine Corps spokesman, confirmed to Marine Corps Times Thursday.
Barth still has a few more training schools to go through before joining her unit at 1st Recon Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California, said Maj. Kendra Motz, spokeswoman for 1st Marine Division. Barth is expected to arrive at her unit late spring 2020.
It is time to get this right...if we are ever going to make it right! #BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife