Suicide and the US Army

The number of suicides in the military is growing at an alarming rate. The military is spending $50 million on researching the potential causes of these deaths, in hopes of curbing them in the future. An article published on the Dana Foundation website tries to make sense of information gathered by over the last ten years. Here are a few things we learned:

  • The suicide rate is the same amongst soldiers that have never been deployed, have only been deployed once, and have been deployed several times.
  • A majority of the suicides in this study were considered impulsive, and TBI increases impulsiveness.
  • Only 2 or 3 suicides per year are committed by women.
  • The majority of suicides occur after a humiliating event, or while experiencing difficulties with relationships at home or work.
  • It is unclear how much physical pain and mental illness contribute to the deaths.
  • Things that help prevent suicides: removing access to guns, caring for a dog, and acupuncture.

Read the article in full by Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie here, on the Dana Foundation website. Col. Ritchie is the former psychiatry consultant to the Army Surgeon General.

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