“We’ve Got 18 Vets a Day Who Are Killing Themselves in the United States”
PressTV.com, July 2, 2012
Navy Admiral Mike Mullen (ret.), former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an audience in Aspen this weekend that the military has “18 vets a day who are killing themselves in the United States” due to the incomprehensible stresses of military life, which he said are compounded by a public that is increasingly disconnected from the ongoing wars.
Military suicides rose dramatically after the start of the Iraq war, according to a recent study by the Army’s Public Health Command. That same study found that in 2008, 1 in 5 U.S. soldiers voluntarily submitted to a mental health evaluation, “implying a prevalent public health problem.”
Since then, the military’s suicide rate has continued to climb, hitting a 10-year high in 2012, even though U.S. forces are almost entirely withdrawn from Iraq.
As bad as that sounds, it gets worse: Those figures only account for active duty soldiers, and not soldiers who have returned to private life. If Mullen is correct, then the problem of military suicides is even worse than previously known.
“If I’m a 5-year-old boy or girl in the family of one of these deploying units for the army whose average deployment was 12 months at a time, and my dad or mom – but mostly my dad – has deployed at this pace, I’m now 15 or 16 years old, and my dad has been gone three, four or five times,” Mullen explained during an appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival last weekend.
“And my whole conscious life, from the time when I was 5 and I started to figure out that there was something out there, my whole conscious life has been at war. The United States has never, never experienced that before. And we see incredible stresses on families.”
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