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Suicide rate of our military keeps rising, thoughts?

From the invasion of Afghanistan until last summer, the U.S. military had lost 761 soldiers in combat there. But a higher number in the service - 817 - had taken their own lives over the same period. The surge in suicides, which have risen five years in a row, has become a vexing problem for which the Army's highest levels of command have yet to find a solution despite deploying hundreds of mental-health experts and investing millions of dollars. And the elephant in the room in much of the formal discussion of the problem is the burden of repeated tours of combat duty on a soldier's battered psyche.

The problem is exacerbated by the manpower challenges faced by the service, because new research suggests that repeated combat deployments seem to be driving the suicide surge. The only way to apply the brakes will be to reduce the number of deployments per soldier and extend what the Army calls "dwell time" -

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sweet-a-kins

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 8:02 PM on Apr. 13, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (19)
  • sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 8:02 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • Wow thank you so much for sharing this info! I am so sad to see this but it is things like this that need to be talked about. I am a supporter of Obama but am very upset about the 30,000 more we just sent to Afgan. I'm shocked that he did this and I see the toll here.
    Sarahedger

    Answer by Sarahedger at 8:37 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • I think that they are also not talking about their problems and things they went through. I think marriages aren't protected through it all which also causes additional stress to the soldier. When my husband came home from Iraq in 2006 we fought all the time, he had a lot of pent up stress and things he felt he couldn't tell me. We went to counseling and got through it but, it was a hard road. Everything about being in the military is stressful.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:42 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • I think the military as a whole undermines mental problems within its circles. I am a corpsman and I know a lot of people who have hidden their mental problems because they are afraid of ridicule or that it will somehow affect their career. I remember one year a PA (Physician's Assistant) who was a LTJG used to come to work smelling like a brewery. I pointed it out to my LPO and nothing was said about it. Even patients told me they smelled alcohol on his breath. To make a long story short, one day he did not come to work and when his coworkers went to check in on him, he was dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound. It is kind of sad that he, as a healthcare provider, was dropping hints but people who could have helped him were not paying attention.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:50 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • They really should put a CAP on the number of deployments these soldiers have.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:02 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • Wow thank you so much for sharing this info! I am so sad to see this but it is things like this that need to be talked about. I am a supporter of Obama but am very upset about the 30,000 more we just sent to Afgan. I'm shocked that he did this and I see the toll here.


    I am not shocked he did it, just wish he didn't do it. He said during the debates that he would send more troops there..I just dont think its the right thing..more people need to talk about the real cost of these wars

    sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:19 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • My husband just got back from deployment and I have personally seen the toll it has taken on him! The problem I have with the military is if you seek help your less macho than another soldier! I think after a year long deployment ever soldier should be evaluated wether they want to or not! I also think that dwell time should be 2 years home for every 12 months deployed! I know people that their spouse has gone thru 12 deployments and some that haven't gone thru any! I know most men and women join the service to serve our country and they know going in that they may lose their lives but someone somewhere has to give them more emotional help, because as a spouse you usually only get parts of the story! So I ask you if you already do please pray for and support our troops and if you don't please start today!!!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:22 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • I agree with everything 7 42 said. Another reason we are glad to be veterans and done with that part of our lives.
    babycakes254

    Answer by babycakes254 at 9:26 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • He had to send in more troops to give the troops that were over there their dwell time! You can't just say one day that tomorrow you want all troops out of Afghanistan it takes strategy! Bush put us there for all these years obama has barely been in office a year! It will take longer than a year to fix 8 years of havick!!!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:28 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

  • We need to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama gave us a withdrawal date for Iraq, wasn't it supposed to be this year?
    MunchMunch

    Answer by MunchMunch at 9:54 PM on Apr. 13, 2010

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