Marines Record 100 Suicide Attempts so far in 2012, on Pace for New All-Time High; Prevention Programs Failing

Marine Corps Reports Six Active Duty Marines Dead From Suicide in June

by Mark Walker
North County Times, July 05, 2012  

Six active-duty Marines took their own lives in June, raising the number of self-inflicted deaths among leathernecks this year to 24.

The number provides fresh evidence that the Marine Corps’ efforts, like that of all the service branches, continues to struggle in reducing suicides.

The 24 deaths so far this year compare with 32 for all of last year and 37 recorded in 2010.

An additional 14 Marines attempted suicide in June, raising the number of suicide attempts for the year to 100. That compares with 163 attempts recorded last year and 172 in 2010.

The report from the Marine Corps’ suicide prevention program comes as the military overall is averaging a suicide a day, the highest seen since the outbreak of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From Jan. 1 through June 3 of this year, 154 U.S. troops from all service branches killed themselves, surpassing by 18 the number killed in fighting in Afghanistan during the same period.

The Pentagon says it has been working with each branch to eliminate any stigma associated with service members who seek mental health counseling.

Despite an array of outreach efforts, researchers acknowledge they haven’t found the answers needed to reduce suicides among men and women in uniform.

In San Diego recently, researchers presented the results of a comprehensive survey of combat troops that revealed 13 percent had suicidal thoughts or plans.

Cynthia Thomsen of the Naval Health Research Center said exposure to violence and battlefield trauma along with post-traumatic stress and substance abuse are among the top causes of service member suicide.

Other causes are traumatic brain injuries and marital and financial stresses, according to researchers.

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