‘STAGGERING’: Suicide Rate Among Female Veterans Found Near Six Times Higher Than Non-Veterans

‘STAGGERING’: Suicide Rate Among Female Veterans Found Near Six Times Higher Than Non-Veterans

by Alan Zarembo
The Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2015

LOS ANGELES — New government research shows that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women, a startling finding that experts say poses disturbing questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the armed forces.

Their suicide rate is so high that it approaches that of male veterans, a finding that surprised researchers because men generally are far more likely than women to commit suicide.

“It’s staggering,” said Dr. Matthew Miller, an epidemiologist and suicide expert at Northeastern University who was not involved in the research. “We have to come to grips with why the rates are so obscenely high.”

Though suicide has become a major issue for the military over the last decade, most research by the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department has focused on men, who account for more than 90% of the nation’s 22 million former troops. Little has been known about female veteran suicide.

The rates are highest among young veterans, the VA found in new research compiling 11 years of data. For women ages 18 to 29, veterans kill themselves at nearly 12 times the rate of nonveterans.

In every other age group, including women who served as far back as the 1950s, the veteran rates are between four and eight times higher, indicating that the causes extend far beyond the psychological effects of the recent wars.

The data include all 173,969 adult suicides — men and women, veterans and nonveterans — in 23 states between 2000 and 2010.

It is not clear what is driving the rates. VA researchers and experts who reviewed the data for The Times said there were myriad possibilities, including whether the military had disproportionately drawn women at higher suicide risk and whether sexual assault and other traumatic experiences while serving played a role.

Whatever the causes, the consistency across age groups suggests a long-standing pattern.

“We’ve been missing something that now we can see,” said Michael Schoenbaum, an epidemiologist and military suicide researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health who was not part of the work.

The 2011 death of 24-year-old Katie Lynn Cesena is one of a dozen cases The Times identified in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Cesena’s death highlights two likely factors in the rates.

First, she had reported being raped by a fellow service member. The Pentagon has estimated that 10% of women in the military have been raped while serving and another 13% subject to unwanted sexual contact, a deep-rooted problem that has gained attention in recent years as more victims come forward.

The distress forced Cesena out of the Navy, said her mother, Laurie Reaves.

Read the rest of this story at the Los Angeles Times website.


DEATH VOTE: Congress Wants Deadly Pharmaceutical Cocktails to Continue at VA, No Medical Cannabis For Vets

House Votes Down Equal Access Amendment That Would Have Allowed VA Doctors to Offer Medical Cannabis Treatment Option to Sick Vets

May 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Let the overdoses continue. That is what Congress voted for 213-210 when they failed to pass the Veterans Equal Access Amendment this week.

The amendment would have allowed VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients — especially those suffering from PTSD — instead of the dangerous pharmaceutical drug cocktails now standard issue at VA hospitals.

At least 30 percent of new patients at VA have been diagnosed with PTSD. Most are treated with an often lethal mixed bag of prescription psychotropic drugs.

The standard VA drug cocktail nearly always combines the following:

SSRIs (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac) for depression
Benzodiazapines (Klonapin, Ativan, Xanax) for anxiety
Cyclopyyrolones (Lunesta, Ambien) for insomnia
Trazadone for depression
Anti-psychotics (Seroquel, Risperdol, Abilify) for PTSD.

Patients with both PTSD and orthopedic injuries are also given powerful Opiod pain medications such as Oxycodone or Morphine. A high percentage of veterans suffer some sort of orthopedic injury during their military service, especially those in combat units.

Nearly all the listed pharmaceutical drugs above carry the FDA’s most serious warning (Black Box) label for dangerous side effects, especially for suicide ideation.

Congress’ vote against giving VA doctors the ability to offer a cannabis option to treat the symptoms of PTSD, and for use in pain management means veterans will continue getting bags of dangerous pills from VA that greatly increase the likelihood of toxic drug overdose and suicide.

Congress essentially voted to keep VA doctors in the business of killing veterans via “pharmacide.”

Medical cannabis used under a doctor’s supervision is proven safe and effective in a majority of patients suffering from the symptoms of PTSD and chronic pain. There are no known cases of overdose with cannabis therapy, and cannabis is not contraindicated with alcohol consumption.

At least 50 percent of new veterans self-report as frequent binge drinkers; having five or more drinks in a single drinking session.

All the above pharmaceutical drugs are not safe for use by patients who consume alcohol. They are nearly always deadly when combined with heavy alcohol consumption.

To read more from the Tech Times about Congress’ vote to keep VA doctors from recommending medical cannabis to sick and wounded veterans click here.

SUICIDE CONTEST: Study Reveals Game Among Army Commanders to See Who Could Abuse their Subordinates the Worst

Former Army Anthropologist Looking at Suicide Causes Found Numerous Cases of Army Leaders Who Held Competitions to See Who Could “Smoke” their Troops the Worst … and Push them the Brink of Suicide

by Daniel Zwerdling
National Public Radio, Feb. 6, 2014

*Editor’s Note – This story perhaps explains better than any so far in the reporting of military culture, and why so many young men and women would rather die than continue serving in the military. The “toxic leader” issue has been mostly ignored by reporters and experts examining the circumstances behind military suicide. This report is shocking, and in this writer’s opinion, reveals criminal behavior among Army leaders charged with the health and welfare of their subordinates.


Read more articles about the Army’s “Toxic Leaders” and their soldiers who kill themselves to escape from them: