NEW RECORD HIGH: Army Officials Report at Least 281 Suicides Through First 10 Months of 2012

Army Suicides for 2012 Surpass Last Year’s Numbers

Press TV, Nov 16, 2012

Ten months into 2012, the number of suspected suicides by active-duty soldiers has surpassed last year’s total, even as the Pentagon struggles to stem the persistent problem.
According to the Army, there were 20 possible suicides in October, bringing the total for the year to 166 — one more than the total for 2011. The 20 suspected soldier suicides in October is also a spike, compared to 15 in September.
U.S. Army officials have been worried about the pace of suicides this year and were concerned the numbers would surge higher than last year despite efforts to increase programs and outreach. In late September, the Army ordered a service-wide “stand down” requiring soldiers to put aside their usual duties and spend time discussing suicide prevention, including how to identify signs of trouble with their comrades.
Military leaders have wrestled with ways to identify factors that trigger suicides. While it has been linked to combat stress, many of the suicide victims are soldiers who have never deployed. Other pressures, including marital, financial or health problems, are also known causes of suicides.
Officials have also been puzzled by the rise in suicides after years of working to blunt the problem with new programs such as a regime of resilience training starting at boot camp and the hiring of more psychiatrists and other mental health workers.
Suicides among National Guard and Reserve soldiers who are not on active duty are also on pace to surpass last year’s numbers. According to the Army, there were 13 potential suicides — nine Army Guard and four Army Reserve — in October, bringing the year’s total to 114. The total for 2011 was 118. AP


More members of the U.S. Armed Forces died by their own hand – usually with a gun – during the first nine months of 2012 than had their lives ended by the enemy in Afghanistan during the same period.
During the first nine months of 2012, there were 247 suspected suicides among Army active- and reserve-duty personnel, compared to 222 military deaths among active and reserve personnel from “hostile causes” as of Sept. 28.
Nationally, suicides among active and non-active military personnel are increasing. In July alone, a record 38 confirmed or suspected suicides were recorded, including 26 among active-duty soldiers and 12 among National Guard or reserve soldiers who were not on active duty.
Mental-health problems were the top reason troops were hospitalized in 2011, according to a May Pentagon report. Nearly 22,000 troops were hospitalized with mental disorders last year, 54% more than in 2007. Time
The Army has been struggling to deal with the suicide problem since numbers began rising in 2004. This year, the average is nearly one soldier suicide a day. NPR
In comments before Congress in July, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta characterized the suicide rate as “an epidemic”. Gen. Loyd J. Austin III, the Army’s vice-chief of staff, commented, “Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army”.

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2 Responses

  1. It looks as though the Army is finally starting to take soldier suicide seriously. I guess it is better late than never. After showing a steady increase in the suicide rate for several years, the Army has begun doing studies that determine why the suicides are taking place. One thing that many Army leaders comment on is multiple deployments having an effect on soldiers and possibly pushing them to suicide. However, this year, over half of the suicides were committed by personnel who had either one or no deployments to a war zone. The Army is also finally understanding the effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injuries on soldiers.
    Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or HBOT has been shown to greatly enhance the healing process of traumatic brain injury patients, however it is not currently a treatment used by the military for troops with brain injuries. It was recently revealed on WWL-TV in New Orleans that in 2013 the Army will be funding studies in HBOT at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center on both civilian and military personnel with brain injuries. The Army is also developing, over the next three years, a fast acting anti-depressant nasal spray that is to start helping soldiers who are suicidal faster than typical oral anti-depressants.
    The Army also has a suicide prevention program called Army G-1. There is an associated website that has videos soldiers, veterans and family members can watch, there are several emergency phone numbers and information on groups that can assist soldiers with suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, when doing an internet search for military suicide, this is not one of the first sites that pops up. I have a son in the Army, and I didn’t see posters of where to turn for help when suicidal thoughts start happening in the buildings I was in. I believe these should be plastered all over the place. Our soldiers should not be able to go into a building without seeing a poster on where to turn for help. There are plenty of other posters showing available schools and jobs, why not where to get help?

  2. “U.S. Army officials have been worried [about the black eye they are getting] about the pace of suicides this year and were concerned the numbers would surge higher than last year despite [the denial of the real causational factors that have led to these suicides]efforts to increase programs and outreach.”

    [If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.] General Sir Anthony Cecil Melchett

    Seriously, at best Military officials have shown an absolute disregard for the lives of their soldiers as they have poured more than 100 million dollars, which they admit they have no evidence in the reducing of suicides, into worthless programs and to the detriment of the soldier.

    Stand downs, fun runs, are nothing more than PR events.

    The shameless, knee jerk, jack-in-the-box programs that spring up every time they have to answer for the suicide rates should haunt them to their graves-and beyond.

    And if you enjoy a good Monty Python sketch, try to keep a straight face as you consider the latest trinity of bad jokes-i.e., suicide prevention plans. “Feeling suicidal there little trooper, well check out the latest and greatest suicide prevention phone app we have for you, and while you’re at it, snort a few blasts from that new and improved “as seen on TV” suicide prevention nose spray, but that’s not there little trooper, if you’re still feeling like you’re going to off yourself, we’ll throw in this tuna fish sandwich for some feel good B3 vitamins-will that be wheat or rye bread…”.

    Hell, I guess if the above doesn’t work, maybe the sardonic humor of this sacrilegious trinity should lighten your mood.

    As the news over the past few weeks has highlighted and made for front page Headlines of otherwise “honorable” Generals who are led by their ‘privates’, or rapists, or just your run of the mill greedy little twits” who have obviously been spent years conducting themselves in less than “honorable” ways-ask yourselves this: How many American citizens even knew that at least one soldier a day took themselves out…not to mention the veterans among them.

    Folks, these are our brothers and sister in arms. We must not forget-nor allow those who enjoy their freedoms upon our shores-yet have never, as we have, fought for those freedoms be allowed to forget the true cost of war.

    “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.”

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