Disclaimer: Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (aka PTSD, an anxiety disorder that follows experiencing a traumatic event) are the most common mental health problems faced by soldiers fighting in the frontline. This article just mentions the facts and the steps taken by GOI to reduce such incidents, by no mean we discourage young aspirants to join the forces.
A few days ago, on 5th January 2018, a 21-year-old army jawan committed suicide by hanging himself. The deceased, Sepoy Gurjobanpreet Singh, was a resident of Batala. He was posted in the 19 Sikh Regiment at Jalandhar Cantonment.
This came as a shock for the deceased’s family. Gurjobanpreet’s sister’s wedding was scheduled on January 28. However, the police is yet to find the reason behind the suicide.
425 Defence Personnel Committed Suicides since 2014:
Gurjobanpreet’s suicide is one of the earliest and first suicides by a forces’ personnel this year. Last year in 2017, 2 Army officers, 1 Naval officer, 67 Jawans, 4 Sailors and 18 Airmen committed suicide during service.
Following are the details of number of suicides in the defence forces during last four years:
Reasons for Soldiers Committing Suicides:
Some of the reasons for committing suicide being cited are:
- Family issues
- Domestic problems
- Marital discord
- Perceived grievances
- Personal issues etc.
Steps to Prevent Suicide Among the Soldiers:
Various steps have been taken by the Armed Forces to create healthy/ appropriate environment for their Officers and Other Ranks. Some of these steps are:
- Provision of better quality of facilities and periodic welfare meeting.
- Conduct of yoga and meditation as a tool for stress management.
- Training & deployment of psychological counsellors.
- Institutionalization of projects ‘MILAP’ and ‘SAHYOG’ by Army in Northern & Eastern Command to reduce stress among troops.
- A ‘Mansik Sahayata Helpline’ have been established by Army & Air Force to take professional counselling.
- Mental Health Awareness is provided during pre-induction training.
- Formation of Military Psychiatry Treatment Centre at INHS Asvini and establishment of Mental Health Centres in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Port Blair, Goa and Karwar.
- Voluntary Retirement Scheme, for those who can’t take it anymore during the service.
Pre-Mature Retirement as Suicide-Prevention Measure:
Voluntary Retirement Scheme was introduced by the government by which any soldier/officer can opt for retirement during their service. Pre-mature retirement is the voluntary retirement taken before the completion of the tenure of the personnel. There can be many reasons to opt for VRS, including being stressed-out.
The details of number of officers and Other Ranks who have applied for premature retirement during the last three years and the current year are as under:-
* As on 1.10.2017
** Up to March 2017
Suicides by a forces personnel can be a demotivating factor for their comrades, sometimes upon whom they look up to. There are various measures that are taken by the government to prevent suicide among the defence personnel and give them a reason to live.
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