Reports Expose DoD, VA as Clueless When it Comes to Measuring Success of Suicide Prevention, PTSD Programs

COLUMN: Self-inflicted Wounds

By Rick Rogers

Front & Center, July 17, 2012

With numbing regularity the Defense Department rolls out report on heartbreakingly high rates of troop suicides.

Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Initial Assessment, report from Institute of Medicine

Lately the numbers grow worse just when you think they should be turning better. The military counted 154 suicides in the first 155 days of the year.

News from the Department of Veterans Affairs is no better. Eighteen veterans a day kill themselves. Yes, you read that correctly, 18 veterans kill themselves each and every day. That is one every 80 minutes, almost 6,600 a year.

Veterans and service members make up 9 percent of the population, yet account for nearly 25 percent of the country’s suicides.

After these reports are published, panels of military leaders with more stars on their collars than twinkle in the night sky assemble before Congress.

And as predictably as Saturday morning cartoons, these leaders gnash their teeth over the carnage that despite their Herculean efforts goes unchecked.

If only they knew the reason. If only…

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