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Suicide rate in Army at a 26-year high

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by BrAinPaiNt, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer 47 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - Ninety-nine U.S. soldiers killed themselves last year, the highest rate of suicide in the Army in 26 years, a new report says.

    More than one out of four soldiers who committed suicide did so while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to a report scheduled to be released Thursday. Iraq was the most common deployment location for U.S. soldiers who either attempted suicide or committed suicide.

    The report, which The Associated Press obtained ahead of its public release, said the 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers compared to 88 in 2005 and was the highest raw number since the 102 suicides reported in 1991, the year of the Persian Gulf War, when there were more soldiers on active duty.

    Investigations are still pending on two other deaths and if they are confirmed as suicides, the number for last year would be 101 instead of 99.

    In a half million-person Army, last year's suicide toll translates to a rate of 17.3 per 100,000, the highest in the past 26 years, officials report. The rate has fluctuated over those years, with the low being 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001.

    Failed personal relationships, legal and financial problems and the stress of their jobs were factors motivating the soldiers to commit suicide, according to the report. It also found a significant relationship between suicide attempts and the number of days deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan or nearby countries where troops were participating in the war effort.

    There was "limited evidence" to back the suspicion that repeated deployments are putting more people at risk for suicide, the report said. With the Army stretched thin by years of fighting the two wars, the Pentagon has had to extend normal tours of duty this year to 15 months from 12 and has sent some troops back to the wars several times.

    The 99 suicides included 28 soldiers deployed to the Iraq and Afghan campaigns. About twice as many women serving in the wars committed suicide as did women not sent to war, the report said.

    The Defense Manpower Data Center, which collects data for the Pentagon, said in late May that 107 suicides had been recorded in the Iraq campaign since its start in March of 2003.

    Preliminary numbers for the first half of 2007 indicate the number of suicides could decline across the service but increase among troops serving in the wars, officials said.

    The increases for 2006 came as Army officials worked to set up a number new programs and strengthen old ones for providing mental health care to a force strained by the longer-than-expected conflict in Iraq and the global counterterrorism war entering its sixth year.

    In a flurry of studies in recent months, officials found that system that might have been adequate for a peacetime military has been overwhelmed by troops coming home from the wars.

    Some troop surveys in Iraq have shown that 20 percent of Army soldiers have signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which can cause flashbacks of traumatic combat experiences and other severe reactions. About 35 percent of soldiers are seeking some kind of mental health treatment a year after returning home under a program that screens returning troops for physical and mental health, officials have said.

    The Army has sent medical teams annually to the battlefront in Iraq to survey troops, health care providers and chaplains about health, morale and other issues. It has revised training programs, bolstered suicide prevention, is adding some 25 percent more psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to its staff and is in the midst of an extensive program to teach all soldiers how to recognize mental health problems in themselves and their comrades — and encourage them to seek help.

    The Army also has been working to stem the stigma associated with getting therapy for mental problems, after officials found that troops are avoiding counseling out of fear it could harm their careers.
  2. dal0789

    dal0789 New Member

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    Someone hung themsleves during my BCT, sad stuff cause it had only been one night into it
  3. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    In 2006, the overall suicide rate for the United States was 13.4 per 100,000 people. It was 21.1 per 100,000 people for all men aged 17 to 45, compared to a rate of 17.8 for men in the Army.


    I think this says something about the adult men in our society as a whole ..... not just those in the Army, since there is a smaller suicide rate for those in the Army.

    In other words this is not an Army caused problem.
  4. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    wow and good point, zrin. i didn't even think to look at national averages. interesting that people will "cherry pick" stats to present a story they feel needs to be told.
  5. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Good point but isn't the real question whether the increased suicide rate in the army, which the author is linking to the Iraq war, parallels similar trends in the wider population? In other words, we need to see a progression of civilian suicide rates over time.
  6. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    like seeing a progression of "hot years" change and then never address that again?
  7. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Or, simply looking at temperatures in the intercontinental US over certain periods of time and deducing that temperatures are not rising without ever considering the temperatures in other hemispheres and what they are doing.
  8. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Is Iceberg doing that weird bulldog thing of his again? Maybe I should take him off my ignore list so others don't have to respond on my behalf. But after the exchange with VA Cowboy, I figured that's where he belonged.

    Anyway, thanks ABQ. You are correct in that the chart I provided was an aggregate of global data taken from multiple sources.
  9. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    funny. i wasn't on your IGNORE list until you popped off and told me and zrin to keep things on topic and then YOU go and post some article that says 11 of the last 12 hottest years have been in the last 11 years IN THE VERY ARTICLE that refutes that with a bug in NASA data.

    it wasn't until you quit responding to me that i referred to myself as a "bulldog" so i don't buy the garbage you're selling, sas.

    i'm smelling some untruths here by someone who won't even back up the things they say.

    does make me wonder know if you're the same sasquach that was on my board for awhile and made up stuff left and right and just stop replying when caught in a catch 22.
  10. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Data is data. The issue is usually how data is represented that creates issues. I guess what I'm saying is that there are always two sides to everything.
  11. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    i agree with that 100%. typically we do interpret the data and come to conclusions, right or wrong. i try to never pin myself as an "it can only be like this" scenario but it may not always come across like that.

    no one can doubt for example, it's getting hotter. i used to wear a jacket going to school in 1982. now in the fall i don't even put on a windbreaker. then again it was a drama lettermans jacket and i was pretty proud of it. :)

    but we don't know enough after that to say for sure man is the sole reason for it. this is where i break off the "global warming" parade and think they're just "selling the drama".

    as for this article, yea i took it from a military pov until zrin made his comment out it still being less than the national average.

    businessman fails and loses millions. can be a tad depressing, yes.
    soldier has to go back to the line where they've seen hidious things to have to deal with - sure it would suck and push people.

    but if the national average is 21 per 1000 and the military is up to 4 points lower than that, again on it's own it doesn't say much. even if the military is "up". new recruits? combat vets? letting more gays in and they don't like it?

    what's the suicide rate of dentists? lawyers? parking lot attendants? WWE vets?

    you take a slice and look at it all you get is that slice and it alone can be made to mean anything. in this regard it seems it's meant to say "bad war cause it makes our military men kill themselves" - or something like that.

    maybe i'm wrong in that but why else would you faktion this off and make it stand alone vs. as part of an overall picture?

    unless you *want* it to say a specific message so you hide the rest.

    then when people "ask" about the rest or find it on their own, they call the original "agenda" into question and we all get fun debates out of it. : )
  12. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    The unattractive, ugly truth of this is probably that people under extreme pressure, such as combat, break. It has always happened and it will always happen. When faced with those kinds of pressures, a certain amount of people are going to snape. That's the reality. Not very enjoyable to consider but the truth none the less. These are casualties of war and they are present in every war. The longer you are on station, the more of these you will see. Part of fighting a war IMO. Nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunate but true.
  13. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    of the 99 suicides only 28 of them were deployed in Iraq and Afghan.

    I would be willing to bet that 90% of those suicides were because the person thought or found out that their spouse was cheating on them. That always seemed to be the case.
  14. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Thank you for getting the topic back on hand.

    I think we have some other threads to talk about the boring climate debate.

    Thanks again.
  15. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Sometimes not just cheating, but cleaning out the house and bank accounts when they are away on duty.

    Know of a guy that happened to and heard of quite a few others.
  16. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    that's fine and i'd agree. but why then is the military average, even after it's meteroic recent rise, still less than the national average?
  17. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    hey - post 11 i got back on track!!!! : )
  18. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    That is approximatly 1/3. Context that with the troop count deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan and I'd bet that the percentage is significantly greater then that of personel stationed in none combat areas. The story suggests Army but I don't know if this is, in fact, only Army or all services. There are other factors as well, such as prior duty and or hazerdous duty in other parts of the world. There are other areas of concern outside of the Middle East. The report is not clear on how many were assigned and to where. Lots of factors play in.
  19. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Personally I think that someone in the military has a better chance of coping with a suicidal depression than some poor soul who lives by them self as a civilian.

    You are rarely alone for very long and you have people that are counting on you every day and will notice if you do not show up.

    The pressure and anxiety is much worse ...... but you just dont have as much time to dwell and the act on it.

    that being said we need better physiological help for our kids returning home ... even those that do not think they need it.

    Its alot harder to readjust than most people think.
  20. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Agreed.

    Better care both physically and psychologically are needed for the soldiers when they come home. We use them but often do not give them the treatment they deserve and have EARNED.

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