A Mother Talks About Her Son’s Military Suicide
BY THE WORLD
DECEMBER 20, 2012
According to the Defense Department, most military suicides are among people with no history of deployment.
Peggy Scallorn’s 18-year-old son Cody was part of that statistic. Cody was in the Air Force and was only a few months out of basic training last January when he took his own life.
Anchor Marco Werman talks to Scallorn about her son.
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Military Suicide Among Soldiers Who Haven’t Deployed
BY SARAH CHILDRESS
DECEMBER 20, 2012
The epidemic of suicide in the US military corresponds with the US involvement in parallel wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the latest figures confirm a confusing fact: Most soldiers who kill themselves have never deployed to a combat zone, and the vast majority have never been in battle at all. Frontline reporter Sarah Childress examines what’s behind the statistic.
The stereotype of the soldier who kills himself—a combat veteran plagued by post-traumatic stress -— is a familiar one to Craig Bryan, the associate director of the National Center of Veterans’ Studies at the University of Utah. “That is the storyline that we have created in our society because it’s a simple storyline and it intuitively makes sense,” he says. “The problem is that the data doesn’t support the notion that it is as simple as combat leads directly to suicide risk.”
Last year, 53 percent of service members who killed themselves had no history of deployment, according to the Defense Department’s most recent data. And about 85 percent of military members who took their lives had no direct combat history, meaning they may have been deployed but not seen action.
Suicide is complex, so there’s no simple explanation for why these service members are killing themselves in greater numbers. But experts who have studied the problem say that one factor may be the pressure from the back-to-back wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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