My first research question is what causes some veterans to commit suicide. I have found a lot of answers to this question regarding why veterans commit suicide. I have found that this issue can be caused by untreated mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and uncontrollable anger. Other causes for veterans’ suicide include survivor’s guilt and substance abuse. The two main sources this information comes from are articles from a GALE database. The first article is titled Suicide Rate Reflects Toll of Army Life. This article has given me some insight about mental illnesses and how they affect soldiers. The second article is titled Shocking Suicide Toll on Combat Veterans. It has expanded my knowledge of depressed veterans and how depression leads to suicide in many soldiers. The answers to this question have sparked deep thought in me. Before this project, I assumed that veterans would commit suicide because of the stress of having to protect a country or the guilt of killing other humans. I never thought that there was more to it such as substance abuse or mental illnesses. Now I know not to make assumptions because there is often more to an issue than what is on the surface. This first research question is the most important and thought-provoking to me and I think it has been answered well through my research.
I found my expert through an article I found on a GALE database. In the article, it described a Veterans’ Affairs hospital in Miami, Florida and how they specialize in helping veterans cope with mental and physical disabilities. One of the therapists at the hospital is Daniella David. Her name was in the article itself. Dr. David specializes in helping soldiers with suicidal tendencies and is herself a veteran of the Israeli army, so I thought she would be a wonderful candidate for this interview. I also wanted to interview her because there were a lot of quotes from her in the article and she was talking about the statistics of veterans’ suicide, which is one of my research questions.
I had no idea how to go about getting in contact with Dr. Daniella David. I thought about searching her name on Google and hopefully finding an email address, but I found nothing, so I asked Ms. Hamilton for help. Ms. Hamilton told me to go to the VA hospital’s website and search for her email address through the staff page. All of her information was there, including her email address. I wrote her an email explaining that I was a student at Creekview doing a research project over veterans’ suicide. I explained to her how I found her name and why I thought she would make an excellent candidate for the interview. Dr. David said that she would love to answer my questions, but wanted more information about the project first. I told her all about the project starting in February when we read All Quiet on the Western Front. She then answered my interview questions.
I learned so much from Dr. David. I learned that there is more to veterans; suicide than just stress or guilt from war. She told me that sometimes, veterans commit suicide because of untreated mental conditions such as PTSD and depression. She also said that suicides can happen because of substance abuse or problems that occur at home after the soldier has returned from a tour. I also learned that there are a lot of efforts in place trying to solve this issue. There are VA hospitals like the one Dr. David works at that offer different types of therapy from family counseling to substance abuse therapy to acupuncture. There are also military training courses that are designed to teach soldiers about the warning signs of suicide and show them how to better deal with stress and anxiety/depression. One more thing I learned from her is that there are two definite age peaks where suicide becomes more predominant (18-24 and 65+) and that white males are at a greater risk for suicide, especially if they have a history of substance abuse or mental illness.
As far as finding and contacting experts goes, I think I learned a lot. I learned that I can find out about potential experts to interview just by reading an article-I do not have to search an actual name. I also learned how to find a way to get in contact with experts. I found out that their workplace’s website may have the contact information I am looking for and that I don’t have to type a person’s name into Google to find an email address. This was extremely helpful because I did not have to waste time looking at different websites hoping to find a way to contact my expert. I also learned a lot about writing a business letter. I learned which phrases and terms are best to use and how to identify myself and the project better.
If I was advising someone on using an expert interview as a source, I would tell them about how to find an expert’s name and how to contact them. I would also let them know to be very thorough when asking questions in order to get as much information as possible. Additionally, I would tell them to be patient when waiting for replies and to thank the expert they found for their responses.
The two main sources I am using are an article I found on a GALE database and a journal post I found from the sites Ms. Hamilton listed as helpful sources. The article is called Veterans Meet for Group Therapy. It is about a veterans’ affairs hospital in Miami, Florida and how the staff there has set up therapy groups for veterans with mental illnesses (such as PTSD, depression, and/or anxiety) that put them at risk for suicide. The article explains how the hospital treats all ages of veterans from World War II to today’s War in the Middle East. This article has been extremely helpful to me because it answered almost all of my research questions. Through this article, I found out what can be done to treat veterans who have suicidal tendencies, some of the statistics of veterans’ suicide, and what is being done to diminish this issue as much as possible. I even found the name of my expert I am interviewing through this article. The journal is about a CBS News team who wanted to know the statistics of veterans’ suicide, but ended up discovering so much more. Through their investigation, they found that the government had been covering up the actual number of veterans who had committed suicide and were not keeping accurate records of the issue. This source has helped me because it gave me some statistics while at the same time letting me know that the statistics I will find for this project will not be completely accurate. It also had some personal stories of soldiers who had committed suicide and why they did so.
One new research skill I have learned over the past couple months is using different types of sources. In our fall project, I only used articles I found through GALE databases, but in this project, I have used articles not found through GALE, journals, and a video. I think I can do more to refine this skill by using even more types of sources like books and podcasts. This research skill is helpful to me because I am not limiting my information sources. I can get a lot more information through other types of sources that I never thought would be helpful before now.
Netvibes has not been a particularly useful or necessary tool for me. I understand that bookmarking sources is helpful to some people, but it is not for me. I personally would rather just stick to using Evernote by itself and not have to worry about adding content to my Netvibes page. Netvibes has not been of any particular help to me and I do not really use it. The only things I have on there are the bare essentials from the checklist handed to us. Netvibes to me is like Diigo was last semester. It was not of any particular help and I did not use it at all. I do understand that people can share their sources easily by using a bookmarking tool like Netvibes, but as I said, I would rather not use any bookmarking tool because Evernote is enough for me to keep track of my sources and get the information I need to do this project.
However, one thing I do like about the features I have added to my Netvibes page is the easy access to the GALE databases. I can easily get to them from my Netvibes page without having to go through the school website and into the library’s research pathfinders. The GALE databases are where I get most of my information and it is very useful to not have to go through several different websites before being able to open one of them.