Veteran suicides are still occurring at a higher rate than that of non-Veteran U.S. adults, and it is the second-leading cause of death for post-9/11 veterans, accounting for over 20% of all deaths. The Army, the largest military service, is most affected. Almost 50 service members died by suicide in the first three months of 2023 compared to 37 service members in the first three months of 2022.
September is Suicide Awareness month, so the Security Clearance Careers Podcast hosts Michael Hudson of ClearForce. Established in 2015, ClearForce is a people risk analytics company that combines software, data services, compliance, and workflow automation to build safe and secure organizations. Their Resolve™ platform and continuous evaluation solutions help public and private sector organizations mitigate people risk associated with mission critical initiatives for insider threat, workplace safety, cyber security, SAFETY Act, trusted workforce, and suicide prevention.
Hudson served the nation in the Marine Corps, retiring as a Colonel. He has an extensive background in leadership, operations, intelligence and safety, and lead Marine Corps sexual assault prevention efforts, supported behavioral health and suicide reduction. Today, Michael supports organizations reducing human capital risk around insider threat, security, work force assurance and wellness. He leads the ClearForce team efforts to transform veteran suicide prevention by leveraging new technology, privacy, compliance, and behavioral data to move upstream and push resources to empower those who struggle.
Outreach Must Happen Before a Veteran is in Crisis to Lower the Suicide Rate
Hudson believes that we need to flip the model when it comes to tackling suicide reduction. While there are many resources available to veterans in crises, the onus is on them to ask for help. With the tech and AI we have at our disposal, Hudson thinks we need better outreach to help veterans before crisis becomes too late.
There are some easy ways we can prevent these numbers from growing – this includes continuing to destigmatize mental health amongst the veteran community and job seekers amidst the security clearance process. Coupled with the resources advocates and veterans have at hand.
Veterans should not fear of losing their job or clearance by asking for help. And companies should not consider veterans as suicide prone but continue to hire them because of their unique skillsets and calls to service.
So, check on your brothers and sisters. Use the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. And engage with Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) if you are at all feeling alone.