A con­gress­man who served in Afghanistan is cham­pi­oning an idea to request depart­ing ser­vice­mem­bers sign an oath not to harm them­selves, as a method to deter vet­er­an sui­cides. But some sui­cide pre­ven­tion experts con­tend the plan is like­ly to do the oppo­site. Rep. Bri­an Mast, R-Fla., who took office this Jan­u­ary, is an Army vet­er­an who lost both of his legs in 2010 from a road­side bomb explo­sion in Kan­da­har. When pro­mot­ing the “Oath of Exit” on the House floor last month, Mast said ser­vice­mem­bers are known for hon­or­ing their com­mit­ments – and if they com­mit to con­tact­ing fel­low vet­er­ans before harm­ing them­selves, they’d do it. Though it’s well-inten­tioned, the oath – essen­tial­ly a no-sui­cide con­tract – is an out­dat­ed notion proven not to work, and it could even back­fire, some experts said. “It won’t work, to put it blunt­ly,” said Craig Bryan, a psy­chol­o­gist and exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Nation­al Cen­ter for Vet­er­ans Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Utah. “At best, it would be a neu­tral effect, but it could make things worse.” When strug­gling with sui­ci­dal thoughts, vet­er­ans who sign the com­mit­ment could feel an increased sense of shame and guilt, Bryan explained. Caitlin Thomp­son, the for­mer […]