Trained not to cry: the challenge of being a soldier | Richard Doss | TEDxNaperville

  • Published on Dec 6, 2016
  • Members and Veterans of the US Armed Forces have unacceptably high suicide rates. Why?
    It's not the combat experience like one would suggest, but a much more complex issue that needs to be talked about.

    Dr. Richard Doss is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and works for the Veterans Administration Vet Center. He is also a former Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Program Manager for the United States Army Reserve, training commanders, soldiers, and their families on suicide prevention and assisting over 13,000 soldiers in 26 states and Puerto Rico. Certified in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Richard has trained hundreds of Soldiers and their families in the art of Suicide Awareness and Suicide Prevention.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 1 032

  • Spirit Walker
    Spirit Walker 3 days ago

    The Biggest issue for me is the lack of basic respect civilians have for each other, we sacrificed so assholes back in Country can be spoiled, self-serving assholes that would put your life in danger on the highway just to gain 2 seconds on their way to work, and that is just the tip of the iceberg for these ungrateful, narcissistic brats.

  • Vaughn Titus
    Vaughn Titus 3 days ago

    What an amazing video. Probably one of the most moving and eye opening speeches I’ve ever heard.
    Bravo sir 👏🏻

  • FreeRangeSoyFarmer Goyem

    An army has to be efficient, if every other order turns into a debate then you could end up dead.
    There's a time and place for everything. If personel need help then they should be able to get it as long as it doesnt interfere with carrying out orders.

  • acstorfer1
    acstorfer1 7 days ago

    Definitely part of it, but the VA hands out opioids by the handful. Opioids destroy minds and bodies.

  • Will C.
    Will C. 11 days ago +1

    Can this guy please be my college professor?

  • Banana Boy
    Banana Boy 13 days ago +3

    Thought my dad was the only one who told me "stop crying before I give you something to cry about."

  • Aaron Baker
    Aaron Baker 13 days ago

    my dad is ex military I was told that men do not cry I come off my bike when I was young get up get back on it men do not cry if you keep crying I will give you something too cry about and he would hit me 4 or 5 times he picked me up belted me then put me back on the bike

  • Beast Army
    Beast Army 14 days ago

    Accomplishes the

  • Michael Meisberger
    Michael Meisberger 15 days ago

    Very odd perspective.

  • Sean Ngyuen
    Sean Ngyuen 19 days ago

    Can't stop watching this. Way too good...

  • donald allen
    donald allen 20 days ago

    I was never a veteran but my father did the same damage to me,he was killed at 39 I was 14 still full of hate otherwise good

  • Trevor Powers
    Trevor Powers 23 days ago

    “Perv” lol

    CARLOS GUTIERREZ 24 days ago +1

    We're trained that asking for help is a sign a weakness. So we STAY STRONG and struggle in silence...

  • Michael Vernon
    Michael Vernon 26 days ago

    Surprised how he didn't mention how people say, "Man up", or " Be a man". I have also heard, "grow a pair" These are just things people often say to men, but women are treated differently

  • WereDictionary
    WereDictionary 28 days ago

    Powerful speech.
    I (30, m, never went to military) bawled my eyes out and Im not ashamed to admit it.

  • Phixiq
    Phixiq 29 days ago

    It’s Something different y’all..

  • John Drohan
    John Drohan Month ago

    TEDx , I sure hope you're working in the V.A. Mental Health field ! HOOAH , from a tired , (old) , Big Red One soldier .

  • Giuseppe Benvenuto
    Giuseppe Benvenuto Month ago

    My son is an infantry paratrooper 325th 1st Bat Ft Bragg. Never had any sort of meaningful relationship. I worry about him so much. My first born. He'll be 21 in a few weeks. I pray so deeply for all of you. May the power of the Almighty Heavenly Father touch each of you, heal you, and bring you peace. Suicide effects those you leave behind in a manner you can't comprehend. i work these too often. Please stop killing yourselves. It is a selfish act. I've seen friends and family in so much pain and sorrow because of it. Pray to Jesus for guidance.

  • Steve Hoyland
    Steve Hoyland Month ago

    (1.20) "Saxophone Player"?......SAXOPHONIST"!!!

  • Randall Peaslee
    Randall Peaslee Month ago

    Damn near cried durring this talk. I've seen so many young soldiers take their own life. Even a personal friend that durring his funeral gathered most of my company together. Thank-you. Humble reminder that care my soldiers is of utmost importance, even more so than I ever thought possible

  • mills8102
    mills8102 Month ago


  • Daniele D
    Daniele D Month ago

    respect the man, hate the soldier.. conscription isn't mandatory in the US, if someone joins is because of some desire to harm somebody else for "protecting" who knows what

  • TheUnstableMailMan
    TheUnstableMailMan Month ago

    I had to get up and leave the restaurant I was at because this hit so hard

  • Jeancapucine_82
    Jeancapucine_82 Month ago

    This guy:
    A I R P L A N E S A R E I N T E R E S T I N G

  • Neloth Aren
    Neloth Aren Month ago

    I don't cry. neurologicly I am incapable of crying. I don't think it's bad for men to cry. I feel like crying inside but am not capable of letting out those emotions by crying. I am quite unaffected by seeing dying children or witnessing bruitality or slaughtering animals. I was going to join the British army and I passed the fitness tests to join parachute regiment but I got a medical fail for my neurological state. I can't cope long term with lack of sleep and sensory overload....
    but crying over real things isn't pathetic. as someone who can't cry I understand why a soldier would cry and why it's good for them to cry to release trauma.
    perhaps my empathy is so low I can't cry. medicly the British army failed me so they obviously don't want people like me.

    FIRE FURY Month ago

    let me wake you up, push you down the stairs, multiple times.... you call yourself my father, i have never stood down to another man, after he stared me in the eyes and put out a cigarette on my neck. after i said no way... i wont stand down. never did.

  • Ed Ramirez
    Ed Ramirez Month ago

    If any veteran is watching this, and you feel like giving up, hit me up, I am a former US Marine veteran. I don't care what branch of the military you are from, you are my brother and let's talk.

  • Brandon Miller
    Brandon Miller Month ago


  • TacShooter
    TacShooter Month ago

    The truth is that civilians, especially pampered, entitled Americans, whine too much about things that you really CAN forget about by toughening up a little. TVclip "Louis CK Everything Is Amazing And Nobody Is Happy". It's the heavy things we need to talk about. But who cares? Of those who care, who has time to listen? Of those who listen, how many will say "keep calm and carry on", "you're in my thoughts and prayers", "let go and let god"? (See, civilians can do it, too.) Almost certain loss of hope is what kills most people by suicide. If you could aim your camera into the future and show the prospective suicide that things are going to get better, that would help. Until then, you can only pretend to predict it in a convincing way. I find that aging is a growing tolerance of loss, something instilled by my Army training: loss of contact with family, loss of comfort, loss of autonomy, etc. My only escape from a hopeless future was suicidal ideation when I was a teen. Then I joined the Army and it taught me to take responsibility for and ownership of my future. I'm still not perfect, but I am better off than I was as a soft civilian. I'm a civilian again, but my skin is thicker than it was. I needed that.

  • # MyDickStinks
    # MyDickStinks Month ago

    Seems like being a soldier just adds on to what men are taught

  • Dustin Pierce
    Dustin Pierce Month ago

    Very impressive. Thank you.

  • Symbol Studios
    Symbol Studios Month ago +1

    Respect the realness of the actual reality of what happens in mordern age wars.
    Wars not about protecting oneself from both perspectives. Its about invading and infiltrating countries for their resources (Oil, Gold, Diamonds, etc). Or even more crazy, now there is war thats been happening for several decades resolved around religion differences and trying to make the countries that split into different sides (North, South, East, West) go against each other for a difference in their beliefs.
    There is no need more wars that are fought for good causes.
    Its now just to keep the rich richer and the poor poorer. These guys are trained to fire at the "emenys" only to later then realise who their true enemy is.
    Welcome to the New Order world we live in,
    Please try help create a change where everyone can at least get by!

  • Skeppo Gaming
    Skeppo Gaming Month ago

    such a good speaker

  • Robert Peca
    Robert Peca Month ago

    Did he say any quotes about being rich in experience but poor in language or something?? Pls answer!!

    • Lukas Capatosto
      Lukas Capatosto Month ago

      Robert Peca your looking for Roy pitifils Ted talk

  • Luka Cronqvist
    Luka Cronqvist Month ago

    He's playing a character. Dishonest.

  • Warlord Lu Bu
    Warlord Lu Bu Month ago

    An interesting talk... but I mean... what can you expect? the USA and it's allies are invading Third World nations, illegally, to occupy and exploit. The US military are just gangster enforcers and are trained to be exactly that... cold blooded murderers with no emotion. It's very wrong and they shouldn't have to deal with that. A soldier is meant to defend his homeland, his family and the innocent... and that has not happened since World War 2.

  • MegadethDude2001
    MegadethDude2001 Month ago +1

    "Drink some water" lol

  • Retard Nation
    Retard Nation Month ago

    Anyone want some of my pain?

  • XEAT.MY.BU113TS.X -

    Reminds me of Denzel Washington

  • Ikari Shinji
    Ikari Shinji Month ago

    then millenials that have decline in empathy are suited to be soldiers?

  • Just a guy
    Just a guy Month ago

    As an active duty infantryman. These comments bring tears to my eyes to see my brothers hurting. I myself think I am doing ok mentally. Not sure how as I don't really open up. But it tears me up to see my brothers in arms struggling. Reach other brethren. Talk to someone. Please.

  • Lurking Seal
    Lurking Seal Month ago

    What about non combat roles?

  • D
    D Month ago +1

    He’s the type of dude that when he cries it’ll be all dramatic;) buwhahahahah

  • Garrett Gallagher
    Garrett Gallagher Month ago +1

    Something tells me this guy is a POG...

    • Just a guy
      Just a guy Month ago

      Something tells me, you're what's wrong with the world.

      And this is coming from an infantryman of 7 years.

  • MultiBlisster
    MultiBlisster Month ago

    I grew up in an emotionally harder home than the Army was... my father truly believed that men didn’t display emotion or weakness. Never in my Army career, yes I am retired now, did anyone in my chain of command train or even attempt to trade me not to cry. I was trained to always put the mission first, but the welfare of my soldiers second, a very close second. By the time I retired, there were more programs for mental health issues that I could count and soldiers were encouraged to utilize them. Some looked down on people using them, most didn’t. Yes, there is a stigma with seeking guidance. But you have to have something that you should have been trained to have from day 1 of enlisting... courage! Be brave for yourself, for the people you care about, and be a leader by setting the example that if you need guidance on how to deal with your issues, get it! Maybe we should change the wording? I personally call it seeking guidance not getting help... also, at some point you have make the decision to not let the worst things in your life the most important.

  • Wout
    Wout Month ago

    I can’t cry in front of other people because when I was little I was forced not to cry because people seemed to actually be ashamed by me just for showing my emotions. It’s so sad that in this society a man can’t show his emotions because he gets looked down upon when he does.

  • Keo Jin
    Keo Jin Month ago

    thanks you.

  • Bat__
    Bat__ Month ago

    lol marines dont have balls

    • Luke K
      Luke K Month ago

      Haha so edgy bro youre hilarious

  • Joshua Smith
    Joshua Smith Month ago

    13:36 ask any Marine and they will disagree

  • Mark Arca
    Mark Arca Month ago

    Unfortunately, this is the advice (especially military or ex-military/war veteran) parents give their boys: not to cry (something like, "Do not be a sissy, only babies [or girls/ladies/women] cry", and not to talk. As if these boys are in training to be miltary men somedays.

  • Cody Lewis
    Cody Lewis Month ago

    Wow. I watch this and every word mr. Doss said is true. Then I read some comments and realize everything I went through other soldiers experienced the same exact thing. The military is broken. I just wanted to thank Richard for bringing this sensitive subject to the public and maybe it will bring a change to the military because it drastically needs one.

  • krisztina kessel
    krisztina kessel Month ago

    I like this guy:)

  • Jarod Farrant
    Jarod Farrant Month ago

    If anyone who’s a veteran or a person whom saw and went through @#$% in their life hear this, don’t give up there’s a reason to life there are people and even pets who love you (and anyone who had a pet rather it was a dog, cat, hamster or even a reptile or bug know pets are family to) please know there’s always a reason to life.

  • CourtneySlaughter
    CourtneySlaughter Month ago

    Marines arnt soldiers btw.

  • Ed C
    Ed C Month ago +1

    One could hear a pin drop.....
    Indeed... society fails in protecting those who's life is dedicated in protecting society...
    Respect to Dr. Doss!

  • poopz
    poopz Month ago

    not every one is cut out to be a warrior, simple as that..

  • poopz
    poopz Month ago

    in feudal japan, samurai were rewarded for their successful service with land, houses and riches

  • Gary Owen
    Gary Owen 2 months ago

    This is nothing more than the thoughts of a simple soldier. I was raised to never harm anyone except to protect myself, or my family. Even in the army your taught never kill non-combatints. In combat there is no time to decide you see a threat kill it, or continue to observe until your sure it's a no kill ( your never really sure )As a result you become an expert in reading people. Fear, anger, joy all these things I can read In less than a second. Then you come home. Seeing fear in the eyes of your wife, your kids, your mom, or anyone that loves you sucks worse than being under fire. Trust me I wish everyday I was back where I didn't have to see that look in my family's eyes. I wish I could sleep just a night or two a week. Maybe with some rest I could fight a little longer. I don't wonder why so many opt out. I wonder how they lasted so long .

  • Maryou Dawood
    Maryou Dawood 2 months ago +3

    He sounds like bubba blue from Forrest Gump

  • joey schmidt
    joey schmidt 2 months ago

    havent watched the video yet but because of the camera and where is standing it looks like it says perv beside him