BREAKING NEWS: Researchers Find Distress Causing Majority of Military Suicide Attempts at Fort Carson

Fort Carson soldiers leave for combat deployment to Afghanistan. A Defense Department-funded soon-to-be-released study of military suicide conducted by the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah has identified ‘psychological distress’ as top reason cited by a group of 72 Fort Carson soldiers for attempting suicide. (DoD)

Study Reveals Top Reason Behind Soldiers’ Suicides

by Gregg Zoroya
USA TODAY, July 10, 2012

When researchers asked 72 soldiers at Fort Carson, Colo., why they tried to kill themselves, out of the 33 reasons they had to choose from, all of the soldiers included one in particular — a desire to end intense emotional distress.

“This really is the first study that provides scientific data saying that the top reason … these guys are trying to kill themselves is because they have this intense psychological suffering and pain,” said Craig Bryan, co-author of the study by the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah that will be published in the coming months.

Suicide within the military has soared since 2005 as the military has waged two wars at once, and this year may set a record with troops committing suicide at the rate of one per day, according to Pentagon figures.

But military scientists say that finally, after years of congressional funding and the launch of randomized studies of a subject rarely researched, a few validated results are beginning to surface.

The findings by the Pentagon-funded study offer perhaps some guidance on how to attack the problem, said Army Col. Carl Castro, who is coordinating $50 million in research into suicide prevention and treatment.

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2 Responses

  1. I am absolutely speechless-Seriously, who would have guessed that the desire to end intense emotional pain was the leading cause of military suicides? Maybe the question that really needs to be asked is how anyone with a straight face could take the millions of dollars we have poured into these sorts of “no-brainer” studies and report what is and has never been in question-the reason most people take themselves out-or attempt to, military or otherwise.

    How long will we accept the unnecessary financing of what must be the worst large scale research industry scam covering two primary topics which themselves (suicide/ptsd issues as well as the commorbid associated mental health issues) have been exhaustedly covered over the centuries-and act upon meaningful ways to connect with those at risk and provide them with a simple human lifeline. Until we quit looking for one-size fits all-quick fixes and solutions-and take our fellow distressed brothers and sisters in hand, offering them first and foremost he ability to listen, and show compassion-we will continue this unnecessary body count. Years of endless excuses by senior military mental health experts-finger pointing-denial that suicide/ptsd and other emotional/spiritual injuries are increased during wartime service is nothing less than damnable.

    More than 100 million dollars has been put into military mental health programs which officials acknowledge were created based on nothing more than it seemed like a good idea, and into the psychological research industry. One only needs to take a glance at the names of military mental health officers and leaders and cross check those names against the tsunami of books and articles written since 9/11 regarding military mental health issues to see that either they are grossly incompetent-or reaping some hefty rewards. At any rate-the ones who die by their own hands are the real soldiers-who we have left behind. And those of us minister daily to our wounded brothers and sisters, we are the ones who find ourselves drying the tears of the families who too have been left behind. In the end though I wonder, who will care for our families-when our time has come and gone….

  2. Not surprising at all. Our emotional system is very difficult to manage and to maintain balance with such stress imposed on our Military. With the long and often frequent tours away from their family,friends and loved ones, facing death 24/7 in a 3rd. World Country where we don’t belong, how does anyone protect themselves from the living questions: Am I Safe and Secure with Who I am With? Friend or Foe? How can I adapt to such a hostile environment–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially? Disillusionment, Despair and Suicide follow when these questions are not successfully answered by our Instincts.

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