by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
March 3, 2013
Why is this worse than a waste of time to read? Start with the title itself. "Why modern soldiers more susceptible to suicides?" Does Bill Briggs want people to think military suicides are unique to this generation? What about use of the word "susceptible" itself? Does he understand that word is part of the problem as if this generation is less than other generations? Why use the word "soldiers" when military suicides are up in every branch?
Why modern soldiers are more susceptible to suicide
By Bill Briggs
NBC News contributor
The armed forces mourned a grim toll in 2012 when more troops took their own lives than died in combat, but a precarious question remains: Why is the rate spiking when military life has long been a suicidal deterrent?
Among the services, the Army lost the most active-duty members last year to suicide: 182. Inside that branch, as two wars raged then waned, the annual suicide pace climbed. During 2001, nine out of every 100,000 active-duty soldiers killed themselves, while, during 2011, the suicide rate was nearly 23 per 100,000, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. .
Compare that sobering trend to conflicts and peacetimes past. During the final three years of World War II, the Army’s annual suicide rate didn’t budge above 10 soldiers per 100,000, and during the Korean War in the early 1950s, that annual pace remained at about 11 soldiers per 100,000, according to a study published in 1985 by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
Between 1975 and 1986, the Army’s annual suicide rate averaged 13 deaths per 100,000 soldiers, falling to as low as 10 in the early ‘80s, according to series of papers published in the journal Military Medicine. The Army’s suicide rate in 2001 was less than half that for all American males (18.2 per 100,000). Since then, the pace of self harm among active Army troops has more than doubled — and that trend is not ebbing: In January, the Army classified another 33 deaths as "potential suicides" among active-duty, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, according to the Department of Defense.
read more here
Briggs mentioned American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I had to look them up because if I posted on them in the past, I couldn't remember them. This is what they have on their website.
Suicide is even more frequent among older people. The highest rates are found in men over 50. Before AFSP was formed, there was no national not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding the research and education programs necessary to prevent suicide. Over the past 25 years, we have changed that.I guess he didn't notice this or he might have mentioned that is also the generation Vietnam veterans came from.
The study released on Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs covered suicides from 1999 to 2010 and compared with a previous, less precise VA estimate that there were roughly 18 veteran deaths a day in the United States.
More than 69 percent of veteran suicides were among individuals aged 50 years or older, the VA reported.
Briggs would have known this as well if he did enough research.
Vietnam Veterans took their own lives 28 times a day in the 70's
Testimony presented to the Massachusetts Commission on the Concerns of Vietnam veterans in Greenfield, Massachusetts on May 4, 1982, declared that "Vietnam veterans have nationally averaged 28 suicides a day since 1975, amounting to over 70,000."
Keep in mind when you read the following back then no one was really tracking to be able to tell if these numbers were in fact true. It took lawsuits by groups to get the DOD to track suicides of OEF and OIF forces.
Vietnam War Casualty CategoryIt is a good time to remind readers that back then, there were not hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on preventing military suicides.
Number of Records
DIED OF WOUNDS
KILLED IN ACTION
PRESUMED DEAD (BODY REMAINS RECOVERED)
PRESUMED DEAD (BODY REMAINS NOT RECOVERED)
Here's the bottom line. We now have this wonderful technology that allows us to find out what is happening all over the world. No longer do we have to depend on major news sources to provide us with the information nor do we have to suffer in silence as Vietnam veterans and all other generations before them endured. The Gulf War veterans were the last group of veterans coming home from war without the internet. Most homes did not have computers until later in the 90's.
Last night I got off the phone with the sister of an Iraq veteran among the veteran suicide numbers. He was "trained" under "Resilience Training" to become mentally tough. All of his buddies said this was something that was intended to prevent them from doing anything more than sucking it up and moving on. They didn't want to admit they needed help to their buddies and were discouraged from talking to their CO's even though reporters have told us the opposite has been happening because we all know military brass doesn't lie. Right? Sure.
Reporters do not have the facts to back up what is really happening so when they go out and interview them, none of them are asking about why this program has been such a catastrophe. The numbers speak for themselves on this. When you also factor in thousands of calls to the Suicide Prevention Hotline, that also proves this attempt to "prevent PTSD" has not worked. If Resilience Training worked you would be seeing military suicides go up, veteran suicides go up topped off with more and more on the verge resorting to calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline for help.
The woman's brother did what he was told to do after he got a medical discharge. He went to the VA for help and was given more and more pills to take. He sat in his room one night with a loaded gun. He pushed the barrel up against his head. The coroner told his family at the last millisecond he may have changed his mind because the bullet's angle went up. The family has to use Facebook to raise funds to bury him.
The answers are right there. It is not that this generation is more susceptible, but more a matter of we just know more than we did before.
Just like when Vietnam veterans came home, families are still being left out of helping them heal. The Iraq veteran's family didn't know much at all. Most of the families I talk to didn't have a clue and didn't understand before it was too late to do anything, then they had to spend their days blaming themselves because millions upon millions are wasted and reporters like to pretend they have a clue.