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US military suicides: 2,200 soldiers died within 2yrs of leaving service. 1 veteran dies by suicide per 80 minutes, 18 each day


By WcP.Watchful.Eye - Posted on 30 May 2008

(quote)

*Update Sep. 11, 2012*

Curbing Suicide Now a National Priority - Hoping to curb the escalating suicide rate in the United States, especially among military personnel and young Americans, health officials are spearheading a program that encompasses Facebook and other private companies.
"America loses approximately 100 Americans every 24 hours from suicide," said Pamela Hyde, administrator of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, at a press conference Monday morning. Among people 18 to 24, suicide is now the third leading cause of death, officials said.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin said, "It's time to turn our attention to prevention." The new strategy brings together government, the private sector, schools and communities to raise suicide awareness, increase prevention efforts and develop new treatments for those at risk, she said, speaking at the news conference.

In 2009, more than 37,000 Americans took their own lives, and "more than 500,000 Americans were depressed enough to have actually tried it," Hyde said. This is as critical a public health issue as good drinking water, safe food and infectious-disease prevention, Hyde said.

The military has been hit particularly hard. "Right now we are losing more of our soldiers to suicide than we are to combat," said Army Secretary John McHugh. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that in July alone "the Army lost 38 soldiers to suicide - an all-time and month high."

*Update Feb. 25, 2012*

"I felt as alien here as I was in Iraq," the 32-year-old recalls of his return to his native Utah. At home, he says, it was impossible to tell we were a nation at war. He couldn't discuss it with pals "without sounding like a Martian," because they had no idea what the war in Iraq was like. The conversation would bog down, stall and then move on to other topics. "The gap between the military and everybody else is getting worse because people don't know--and don't want to know--what you've been through," he says. "... It's hard not to think of my war as a bizarre camping trip that no one else went on."

As the nation prepares to welcome home some 45,000 troops from Iraq, most Americans have little or nothing in common with their experiences or the lives of the 1.4 million men and women in uniform. The past decade of war by volunteer soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines has acted like a centrifuge, separating the nation's military from its citizens. Most Americans have not served in uniform, no longer have a parent who did and are unlikely to encourage their children to enlist.

Never has the U.S. public been so separate, so removed, so isolated from the people it pays to protect it. The isolation will be plain to see as those U.S. troops in Iraq stream home before the year's end. Most will return not to 50 states but to two: North Carolina, home to the 82nd Airborne Division, and Texas, home to Killeen's Fort Hood and El Paso's Fort Bliss. There, many of them will live "on post," or in military-centric towns, where contact with the rest of us is rare. "As we continue to concentrate ourselves in fewer and fewer bases, as we become more secluded by way of a volunteer service, where fewer and fewer Americans have either served or know someone who's served," says Army Secretary John McHugh, "there is a sense of alienation that I don't think is positive."

Veterans suicide rate - the war at home: the VA estimates that a veteran takes his or her own life every 80 minutes — 6,500 suicides per year. That’s 20 percent of all suicides in the United States.
We know that suicide is a terrible problem in Nevada, with a rate 50 percent higher than the national average. Among military veterans and especially young veterans, however, it’s a crisis, according to new data from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

From 2008 to 2010, the Nevada veteran suicide rate was 2.5 times higher than the rate for all Nevadans and nearly quadruple the national nonveteran suicide rate. In 2010, suicide accounted for more than a quarter of deaths among veterans 24 and younger. All told, of the 1,545 Nevada suicides between 2008-2010, veterans accounted for a stunning 373 of them, or nearly a quarter.

The explanation: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a brutal toll on our young men and women. And they have come home to a bad economy and communities that are often clueless about what veterans have experienced or how to help them. “Those high numbers are reflective of a decade of war and the impact that has on those who have been asked to serve in that war,” said Luana Ritch, a veteran and public health expert who compiled the data for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

There’s no great repository of data that tracks veterans’ health, other than the Department of Veterans Affairs. But many veterans aren’t in the VA system. And veterans’ death certificates sometimes neglect to mention military service.

Given these data collection issues, it’s possible the problem is even worse than the figures show. Also owing to data collection issues, it’s not clear if the veteran suicide problem is better or worse in other states.

What we do know, however, is that nationally the problem is significant.

The VA estimates that a veteran takes his or her own life every 80 minutes — 6,500 suicides per year. That’s 20 percent of all suicides in the United States.

The Center for a New American Security published a report last year, “Losing the Battle: The Challenge of Military Suicide,” highlighting the dire situation. The report notes that during peacetime military service members historically experience lower suicide rates than the overall population.

I called the VA in Southern Nevada and in Washington but never heard back from them. Linda Flatt of the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention shared some information. Warning signs include: thoughts, fantasies, planning and discussion of ways of hurting or killing oneself; recklessness; rage, guilt, anxiety, depression; withdrawal from family and friends; drug and alcohol abuse; and feelings of hopelessness.

Prescription medication and firearms can be especially dangerous for people at risk of suicide; they should be stored safely.

If you or someone you know may be at risk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press1.

US military suicides high even as wars wind down: more than 2,200 soldiers died within two years of leaving the service. During recent years, more American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have died of their own hand than through contact with the enemy. A veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes.
Even as the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the US military remains embroiled in what seems to be a losing battle: the fight against the growing number of suicides by active duty troops, and Iraq or Afghanistan veterans.

Statistics on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, obtained in 2011 through a Freedom of Information Act request by a San Francisco newspaper, found that more than 2,200 soldiers died within two years of leaving the service, and about half had been undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress or other combat-induced mental disorders at the time.

Senior commanders concede that during some recent years, more American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have died of their own hand than through contact with the enemy.

In the wake of previous wars, the stigma attached to suicides led the military to downplay the problem, particularly in the ranks of the US Army and Marine Corps, where grueling ground combat often took the heaviest psychological toll. While the services still struggle to prevent such tragedies, this time, at least, they have taken steps to address the issue. One of the few detailed independent studies of the problem, by the Center for New American Security, a Washington-based think tank, gave the Army credit for designing early warning and intervention programs that may well have prevented an even bigger death toll.

Peter Chiarelli, a four-star general who has seen more than his share of war, ran the Army’s suicide prevention efforts until his retirement last week from the Army’s second-highest post, vice chief of staff. Back in 1972, when Chiarelli was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army, the service was embarking on the long, difficult process of extricating itself both physically and psychologically from the Vietnam War.

Now, forty years later, the army once again is consumed with winding down complex, frustrating deployments — this time in Iraq, which it left last month, and Afghanistan, where it aims to leave by the end of 2014.

The irony was not lost on Chiarelli, who spent his final two years in the service tending to soldiers psychologically scarred by the multiple deployments and harsh realities of the “wars of 9/11,” overseeing the Army’s Suicide Prevention Program, an initiative to identify at-risk soldiers and raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

I met Chiarelli last year at Washington, DC’s official commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The general was on a panel about resilience, the theme of the conference. As much as everyone wanted to focus on the towers and the first responders who perished that day a decade ago, Chiarelli’s focus was pitched forward.

"One of the things that's going to test our mettle is going to be our ability to focus on (injuries) after the wars' end,” he said.

Chiarelli led the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division through two bloody deployments in Iraq — losing some 635 troops along the way. The general then devoted his final two years in uniform to eliminating the lingering stigma of war’s psychological toll — PTSD.

But there’s been no dent made in the near-epidemic suicide rates since the wars after 9/11 began.

Statistics for 2011 released last month indicate that the Army and National Guard and Reserves lost 164 active-duty troops to suicide, compared with 159 in 2010 and 162 in 2009, the figures reported. That doesn’t include Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force active-duty suicides — which are reported differently and not easy to intermingle with the Army’s figures.

Veterans groups say that suicides among those who have left the military add up to 200 extra deaths a year, depending on how such tragedies are classified.

For five years, beginning in 2005, a service member died by suicide every 36 hours, according to the report by the Center for New American Security.

The report found that US Army suicides climbed steadily since 2004, and in the Marine Corps, the rate increased from 2006 to 2009, though it dipped slightly in 2010.

And while it said it was “impossible,” given the lack of data, to accurately determine the number of veterans that have killed themselves, the report said that the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes.

Army soldiers committed suicide in 2007 at the highest rate on record, and the toll is climbing ever higher this year as long war deployments stretch on. At least 115 soldiers killed themselves last year, up from 102 the previous year, the Army said Thursday. "We see a lot of things that are going on in the war which do contribute — mainly the longtime and multiple deployments away from home, exposure to really terrifying and horrifying things, the easy availability of loaded weapons and a force that's very, very busy right now," said Col. Elspeth Ritchie psychiatric consultant to the Army surgeon general. Some common factors among those who took their own lives were trouble with relationships, work problems and legal and financial difficulties, officials said.

The 115 confirmed suicides among active-duty soldiers and National Guard and Reserve troops who had been activated amounted to a rate of 18.8 per 100,000 troops — the highest since the Army began keeping records in 1980. Two other deaths are suspected suicides but still under investigation. As of Monday, there had been 38 confirmed suicides in 2008 and 12 more deaths that are suspected suicides but still under investigation.

Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a doctor in the Office of the Army Surgeon General, discusses efforts to study and understand suicide among American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

graphic showing active duty Army suicides from 1990 to 2007

(unquote)

Original Source: Associated Press

Thank you for this good topic, I was really needed it, so thank for you again

This is such a nice blog for me.

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