Fort Carson commander talks about reducing military suicides

Fort Carson commander Major General Mark Graham talked Monday with Dave Davies on the NPR program Fresh Air about his efforts to get the Army to take suicide and depression more seriously.

Graham lost two sons in the space of a year. In 2003, 21-year-old Kevin, an ROTC cadet, hanged himself. Within months, 23-year-old Second Lt. Jeffrey Graham, was killed by a roadside bomb in Kalidiyah, Iraq.

From the NPR summary of the interview:

Graham was struck by the different ways his sons’ deaths were regarded. He has since enacted measures to ensure that all soldiers from the base he commands in Fort Carson, Colo., receive full military funerals and memorial services, regardless of whether they died in combat or by their own hand.

Graham discusses the stigma attached to mental health concerns and suicide in the Army, especially troubling because the Army last year recorded its highest suicide rate since the branch began keeping track.

Listen to the interview here.

In March, Graham talked with CNN’s Kyra Phillips about the military’s approach to mental health and increasing suicides in the Army, especially among troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan: