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Old 05-27-2009, 03:44 PM   #1
jrrtoken
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Suicide in the Military

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Earlier today, Fort Campbell, a U.S. Army post, announced that it would be "shutting down" for around three days, in spite of a recent string of 11 suicides among its soldiers. This is an ongoing trend, with there being a total of 133 Army suicides last year, and already 64 this year alone.

This brings with it a valid point. What is the cause(s) for a record number of suicides among combat troops? What should the government/military do to prevent suicides in the military, and in turn, domestically as well?

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Old 05-27-2009, 04:50 PM   #2
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1. Stress. There's a lot of stress when you deploy, especially to a war zone. There are a lot of financial, family, marital and other stresses to go along with the combat/death fears.
2. For some, PTSD.
3. For others, inadequate treatment (either because they're underdiagnosed or don't take their medication as directed) or exacerbation of pre-existing mental issues.
4. Increased alcohol/drug usage making one more prone to accidental overdose that may look like suicide, or certainly impairment in thinking that could lead to suicide ideation.
5. Losing friends and seeing a lot of young people die.

It's a lot more complex than just those things, but that's a start.


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Old 05-27-2009, 05:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PastramiX View Post
This brings with it a valid point. What is the cause(s) for a record number of suicides among combat troops? What should the government/military do to prevent suicides in the military, and in turn, domestically as well.
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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I'd say PTS may be one of the reasons, as Jae has already pointed out. War does things to you that I imagine no one would like to know, that probablys adds a ton of pressure to the burden that an average soldier probably has. Jae has already pointed out the major causes, or at least the causes that I can think of.

Hmm...our country could do more for these troops who are coming back to the states for recruiting or extra training....PTS seems to be the major reason for these suicides, and how we don't approach this issue correctly. Such suicides are preventable, only if we move to help our troops when they get back to the States, or even when they are in combat.


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Old 05-27-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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Isolation for a lot of them. For some this is the first time they've ever been away from close family. So even though they have others around them they feel alone.

Loosing Mary Jane Rottencrotch: Leaving for the military is tough on a relationship. Being from a military family I was told about how my girl would leave me eventually, but I didn't believe it until it happened(ironically her name really was Mary Jane, but the last was different). You can get severely depressed when you lose that last hope of your former life.

Watching close friends die: So you get past the training, get over your ex, and make a new best friend... Now some jerk with an AK takes him out. Or some other military accident kills him. Again you feel completely alone...

Family: Sooo you get over all the other stuff that has happened, get married and she squeezes out a couple of mini-me's. All is wonderful then you get deployed..... then it becomes a long deployment... you miss first words, walking toilet training and what ever else. It can be rough.

DIVORCE: WHAT DID I DO WRONG... What? I wasn't there? It's not like I had a choice... but... but... but...

Back in the barracks... alone again... eating a bullet starts lookin pretty good at that point.

Note: I do not endorse suicide. It's just one example of things that can happen to lead an otherwise normal guy to contemplate suicide. I'll admit that when I was in I contemplated it. Even had what they call a plan for it. Fortunately for me I had a good group of friends who watched out for me. Pulled me aside and took me to the nudie bars until I quit feelin so sorry for myself haha.


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Old 05-28-2009, 12:33 PM   #6
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Careful, Tommy. You don't want everyone to automatically assume that your nuts because you may or may not have contemplated suicide at one time or another, mostly because they're too ashamed to admit that they themselves have also contemplated suicide at one time or another and pointing a finger at someone else is a convenient way to cover it up.


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Old 05-28-2009, 02:09 PM   #7
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Maybe the same people would've done it much sooner had they not been in the military. There seems a definite structure, sense of purpose and comaraderie to military life. I realise the command are being compassionate, perhaps this environment is healthier than they think, though naturally all are right to be concerned.

I do agree PTS and various associative syndromes require a vigilance. And the military should always evolve its culture as it is indeed composed of living human beings with human issues. I think it's proof everybody is prone to them no matter the measures you take, though it is good to reduce incidence as much as reasonably possible.

From the time I've spent on bases I saw military life as perhaps more compassionate in general, with authorities far more approachable and reasonable, than the public sector which is like a primordeal wilderness by comparison. Take a personal concern to a commander and there's always an operating procedure for it. Take one to a workplace supervisor and you're a bother if he doesn't just laugh at you, plus he's probably more criminal than your concern in the first place. Now that's dehumanising.
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Careful, Tommy. You don't want everyone to automatically assume that your nuts because you may or may not have contemplated suicide at one time or another, mostly because they're too ashamed to admit that they themselves have also contemplated suicide at one time or another and pointing a finger at someone else is a convenient way to cover it up.
You seen the other names I have been called here? Crazy at least would be somewhat true.

But the simple truth is that Military life is mentally and physically trying. You have a lot of "down time" where you are doing nothing but sitting there with your own thoughts. You reflect over everything you did in life.

Imagine for instance being a radio operator during the Fall of Saigon. You're listening in as helicopters full of people are looking for the aircraft carrier, and you hear them say, "We are BINGO fuel" and you know what that means.

Then there are those that they've spent most of their time in the service, and are now getting out. It can be scary to think that after years of being told exactly what needed to be done every morning to the uncertainty of civilian life can be a scary proposition for some.


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Old 05-30-2009, 12:56 AM   #9
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Hmm. Well, I know people of various age groups that have been in service. Different people, different experiences, and different still perceptions and reactions to things.

I cannot remember the name of the story, something like the red corvette. It was about 2 brothers. They shared a red corvette--which was symbolism for their relationship. They got along fine. The older one had to go off and fight in the war. Ended up captured and tortured. Survived. Rescued. Was discharged.

Eventually the older brother comitted suicide. Whether it was because he could not face his life and the reality of it in the past, or the freedom was too much for him is left up to your speculation.

It does raise an eyebrow when people claim PTSD does not exist. I understand there are people who play the drama note to get an easy ride, but denying it is just absolutely wrong.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:29 AM   #10
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PTSD, stress, issues like divorce or things like that, but two big things stand out:

1)How the military treats its veterans, and
2)Doing multiple tours. The price of having more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is that many of our boys have to stay over there for several years. After that long in a warzone who wouldn't go insane?


I just hope these guys get the help they need...other soldiers should report if they notice another guy acting really strangely, and they can get the help they need.
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Old 05-31-2009, 12:42 AM   #11
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1)How the military treats its veterans
One of the biggest travesties our country commits

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Old 06-19-2009, 07:28 PM   #12
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No kidding. Why is it that conventional wisdom says that "supporting the troops" means supporting the war, or that one can oppose a war because they don't want to send the troops into a fools' errand?

The VA system is set up to deal with gunshots, severed limbs, illnesses and injuries the folks would get in the line of duty. It took them years to admit that PTSD even happened, much less try to treat it. When it comes to PTSD, the mental health care system in general is still in its infancy and given short shrift from society. There's still a stigma that makes a physical illness like diabetes more acceptable than depression. Men are less likely to seek help because of the implications that they are less of a man or soldier for admitting they need some help. That's a big factor in why young men, veterans or no, have higher rates of suicide in general.


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