Debate Magazine

Military Suicides

Posted on the 03 September 2011 by Mikeb302000
The standard explanation for years has been to blame the high suicide rate on multiple deployments. It seems that's just not the case. From the New York Times about a year ago.
Significantly, the report said that 79 percent of the soldiers who committed suicide had had only one deployment, or had not deployed at all. According to the Army, roughly 20 out of 100,000 soldiers have killed themselves, compared with a rate of roughly 19 out of 100,000 for the civilian population. 

Just this week, Stars and Stripes reported this:
In a finding suggesting powerful psychiatric benefits for a component of fish oil, a study published Wednesday has linked military suicides to low levels of docosahexaenoic acid and found that service personnel with higher levels of DHA in their blood were less likely to take their own lives.
I'll bet there are about a dozen other theories floating around too.
A Philly.com article described some of the newer efforts being undertaken.
The latest military and civilian efforts range from 24-hour-a-day psychological counseling and suicide hotlines, including two by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, to chaplain visits and a new Pentagon video game, released in January, providing a virtual post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience to explore the symptoms and causes of combat trauma.
What's your opinion? Do you have personal experience with this terrible problem? Do you have another theory to explain the phenomenon?
One thing I thought is, could the troops in the military, say over the last couple decades, be over-medicated? Couldn't improper diagnoses and too-freely-dispensed meds actually exacerbate the problem? Just an idea.
Another possibility for me, which might explain the high number of suicides experienced during the Viet Nam War, is the declining belief in what we're doing as a country. Doesn't the anti-war sentiment trickle down into the very rank and file? Some might experience qualms of conscience, others feelings of not being properly appreciated and supported. It could lead to depression and despair in some cases. Just another idea.
I'd like to know what you think. Please leave a comment.


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