Number of Army Suicides Already Surpasses 2009 Total

November 20, 2010
by Chaplain Kathie

This is what we knew after Vietnam with most being deployed once.

This was published by the DAV stating clearly we already had 500,000 in Readjustment Problems Among Vietnam Veterans, The Etiology of Combat-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorders by Jim Goodwin, Psy.D. It hangs on the wall of my office, old and worn out, to remind me everyday of how much of what we already knew has been ignored. With one deployment we had huge numbers of veterans with PTSD, over 300,000 ended up homeless and two studies put the numbers of suicides between 150,000 and 200,000, topped off with the latest studies putting the figure of veterans committing suicide at a rate of 18 a day.


Tracking the numbers it becomes clear that after all these years, they have no clue what they are doing. The Army published a report stating clearly the redeployment of troops increased the risk of PTSD by 50%, yet they continued to do it without addressing what this was doing to the soldiers.

Medications are more of an issue than we think about because of several reasons. The first is short-term memory loss leaving many deployed with medications they forgot they already took. Medications that are just not strong enough while they are in Iraq or Afghanistan leaving them playing their own doctor and taking more than they should because they can’t just decide to go see a doctor with bombs blowing up and bullets coming at them. Then the issue of most of these medications coming with the warning about not using any kind of equipment while taking them along with the need to be monitored by a doctor.

PTSD is hard enough to survive but when the DOD decided they would redeploy them no matter what, it added to all they have to go through. The last thing they needed was for all of the studies we had going back 40 years to be ignored and nothing learned.

Number of Army Suicides Already Surpasses 2009 Total

By Sara Sorcher

November 19, 2010

Despite a rapidly expanding effort to improve the mental well-being of its soldiers, new Army data suggest that the service’s suicide epidemic shows little sign of improvement, with more troops taking their own lives so far this year than ever before.

The data released by the Pentagon on Friday indicate that there were 25 potential suicides for both active-duty and reserve service members. Two by active-duty troops were confirmed. In a separate document from the Army, five suicides of reservists have been confirmed. The rest are all under investigation.

As of today’s numbers, at least 172 soldiers committed suicide this year—surpassing last year’s total of 162 for all of 2009.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for soldiers, trailing only combat deaths and accidental deaths from drug overdoses and drunken driving, the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said in the foreword to a report on military suicide issued in July. Chiarelli, a four-star general, has made a personal commitment to suicide prevention.

The military has invested tens of millions of dollars in a crash effort to combat the ever-increasing suicide rate, hiring more mental-health professionals, installing video-teleconferencing centers to allow soldiers on remote bases in Afghanistan to communicate with stateside mental-health professionals, and distributing laminated cards for soldiers to better recognize signs of depression or suicidal thoughts.

With that in mind, here’s a visit back to the medication issue that will blow your mind.

Prescription drugs were involved in almost one-third of the service’s active-duty suicides, the Army’s suicide-prevention task force said in its July report.

National Journal reported in October that the number of psychiatric-medication prescriptions filled for customers ages 18 to 34—the age range of most active-duty troops and their spouses—soared by 85 percent between 2003 and 2009, according to the military’s health insurance system.

Number of Army Suicides Surpasses 2009

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