GQ MAGAZINE: More Than 113,500 Suicides Among Veterans and Service Members Since 9/11

Editor’s Note: GQ Magazine published last month, an article detailing Iraq veteran Daniel Wolfe’s 2014 suicide that happened live on social media.

Part of Wolfe’s story was a graphic chart on the latest estimated number of veterans and service members dead from suicide.

GQ Magazine reports 113,500 estimated suicides since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

TMSR believes the number is far higher. GQ Magazine is one of very few news media publications to inform its audience to the seriousness of the suicide epidemic.

Most news editors quote the “22 a day” statistic. Few ever quote the “100,000 suicides” statistic.

Why is that? Why does the American citizenry not know the 100,000 suicides statistic?

TMSR praises GQ Magazine for publishing the larger statistic.

Will Americans notice? And, if they do notice … will they care?

Click here to read Daniel Wolfe’s story.

Click here to view the graphic chart.

ANOTHER VA SUICIDE: Marine Corps Veteran Shoots Self at Florida VA Hospital

Suicide at Florida VA Hospital Reveals Pain Among Veterans

by Howard Altman
The Tampa Tribune, Aug. 26, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. — Ever since leaving the battlefields of Vietnam in 1968, Marine Corps veteran Gerhard Reitmann struggled with the horrific memories of the things he did and saw.

“It was a rough one,” said his brother, Stephan Reitmann. “Emotionally, it did a number on his mind.”

Gerhard Reitmann had trouble holding a job. He often kept to himself and, until recently, cut himself off even from his family.

On Tuesday, Reitmann’s struggle ended.

The man who once served as a guard at Camp David during the term of President Richard Nixon apparently took his own life while parked in his car on the southeast side of the sprawling campus of the Bay Pines VA Medical Center near Tampa, Fla., shortly after noon, according to officials from Bay Pines and the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office.

It was near Building 37, which houses the hospital system’s human resources, environmental management and inspector general’s offices.

Bay Pines police are investigating,

Reitmann, of St. Petersburg, Fla., was 66.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

‘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.