STIGMA

Do Soldier Suicides Deserve Condolence?

Though the White House provides full burial services to members of the military who have committed suicide, there's one thing they withhold: a letter of condolence from the president. Within the traditional mores of military code, suicide is still considered a sign of weakness. Last year's military suicides numbered 140, and this year is already on par with 2008. As suicides of armed servicemen rise, their families and lawmakers—including Indiana congressmen on both sides of the aisle—are rallying to get the archaic policy overturned in an effort to destigmatize mental-health issues. The administration has yet to respond to the call for change, except for saying that the policy was inherited from the Bush era. One White House spokesperson did say that they had begun an internal review of the matter.