Military Suicides Soaring in 2012, up 18 Percent; Reserve Component Statistics Remain Shrouded in Mystery

Defense Department Reveals 154 Active Duty Suicides so Far in 2012, But Remains Silent on Suicide Rate Among Reserve Component

by Democracy Now
Jun 13, 2012

More U.S. soldiers have died this year by taking their own lives than on the battlefield. The Pentagon says there have been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops in 2012, a rate of nearly one each day. We’re joined by three guests: Kevin Hines, who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and now counsels suicidal soldiers; Bonnie Carroll, co-chair of the Pentagon’s Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide in the Armed Forces and president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; and journalist Aaron Glantz, author of the book “The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans.”


2 Responses

  1. LMVFM Quarterly Report
    Veterans Care Issues by the Numbers
    11 Sep, 2012
    Since 2001, 2.4+ million Americans have served in the Iraq or Afghanistan war.
    – The Veterans Affairs (VA) has formally diagnosed 207,161 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with PTSD, and reported that last year it treated 476,515 veterans from all periods for PTSD.
    Ptsd-report-fy2011-qtr4[1].pdf Page 3

    – The VA estimated that 337,820 post-9/11 veterans suffer headaches, sleeplessness, irritability, depression, rage and other symptoms of PTSD, whether or not they are formally diagnosed.

    – Defense Department has diagnosed 233,000 (40,000 from combat) individual cases of TBI since 2000.

    – In 2011 hospitalizations of troops with mental disorders such as suicidal or homicidal intent and debilitating psychosis reached a 10 year high.
    The number of outpatient mental health treatment nearly doubled from just under 1 million in 2007 to 1.89 million in 2011 which does not include the number of treatments received by troops during deployments, field training, or on ships at sea!

    – Army personnel, who typically serve longer deployments than service personnel in other branches, have a mental disorder rate 70% higher than for Marines and more than 50% higher than for the Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard.

    – One in five active duty military personnel have experienced symptoms of PTSD, depression or other mental health conditions. (2008 study)

    Military regulations allow military commanders to rid their units of injured or sick personnel without having to pay costs of future medical care, leaving some veterans disillusioned, angry and at high risk for homelessness, substance abuse, violence and suicide. Since 2009, at least 20,000 sick and wounded troops were swept out of the military with other-than-honorable discharges, restricting their access to VA health-care and disability benefits.

    A 2010 survey of more than 90,000 Marines, co-authored by Robyn McRoy of the Naval Health Research Center, found that Marines who served in combat zones and received a PTSD diagnosis were more than 11 times more likely to receive a misconduct discharge than Marines who did not deploy and did not have a PTSD diagnosis.

    – Having PTSD makes you six times more likely to commit suicide.
    – More than one active duty soldier dies by suicide every day.
    – At least 2,500 active-duty military personnel have committed suicide since 2001. (DoD Has Not Released Reserve Statistics nor tracked the suicides of veterans who have left service since 9/11)
    – Suicides have increased within National Guard and Reserve forces, even among those who have never been activated and are not eligible for care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

    – At least “known” 863 active-duty service men and women had attempted suicide in 2010.

    – The VA’s national veterans’ suicide crisis line (800-273-8255) averages 17,000 calls a day.

    – The VA estimates more than 500 veterans take their own life every month (Actual number unknown) *the actual number of living veterans is unknown to the VA. All VA suicide estimates are based mostly on figures which come from the 16 (out of 50) States that report these deaths. The reported figures from these 16 States also rely heavily on the accuracy of suicide reports when the veterans’ status may or may not be known. Veterans who had not been receiving services or enrolled in the VA, and deceased veterans whose suicides-or deaths were not reported to the VA are two examples of why VA guesstimates do not begin to capture the real suicide crisis among our Nation’s military veterans.
    As of 30 July, 2012 the VA reported a record backlog of over 907,000 Veterans claims, with 832,000 of them waiting for disability or survivor benefits, while thousands more seek a pension or GI Bill education benefits.
    – More than one third of military spouses live with at least one mental disorder.
    Mansfield, A., et al. (Jan. 2010) Deployment and use of mental health services among US Army wives. New England Journal of Medicine, 362, 101-109.
    – One third of children with at least one deployed parent have had psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and acute stress reaction —
    NAMI 2012 Report: Parity for Patriots – The Mental Health Needs of Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families
    Mansfield, A., et al. (Jan. 2010) Deployment and use of mental health services among US Army wives. New England Journal of Medicine, 362, 101-109.
    Nearly half of college students who are U.S. military veterans reported thinking of suicide and 20 percent said they had planned to kill themselves, rates significantly higher than among college students in general.
    • Ninety-eight percent had been deployed in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan and 58 percent to 60 percent reported they had experienced combat.

    • 46 percent of respondents indicated suicidal thinking at some point during their lifetime; 20 percent reported suicidal thoughts with a plan; 10.4 percent reported thinking of suicide very often; 7.7 percent reported a suicide attempt; and 3.8 percent reported a suicide attempt was either likely or very likely.

    The only published study on the issue to date, looking at domestic violence among veterans with PTSD who seek couples therapy, found that this generation of veterans is at high risk of perpetrating violence in the home:

    • Male veterans with PTSD were two to three times more likely to engage in intimate partner violence compared to those without PTSD – a rate up to six times higher than the general civilian population.
    Washington University in St. Louis, “Growing Problem for Veterans: Domestic Violence,” Science Daily (Nov 2008).

    Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards (January 2009).

    • 81 percent of veterans suffering from depression and PTSD engaged in at least one violent act against their partner in the past year.
    Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards (January 2009).

    • Over half of veterans with PTSD performed one severe act of violence in 2008 – a rate more than 14 times higher than the general civilian population.
    Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards (January 2009).…/V16N4.pdf

    From 2006-2011

    • Violent sex crime was up 64 percent (including military sexual assault on female and male personnel by other military personnel)

    • Domestic violence rose 33 percent

    • Child abuse rose 43 percent

  2. Here are some statisitcs..

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