“Emergency:” DOD Releases September Suicide Data
Posted by Bryan Maxwell on November 4
Last month, the Army released its suicide totals for the month of September. Among active duty servicemembers, there were 17 potential suicides with one confirmed. Among the non-activated reserve component, there were eight potential suicides with zero confirmed. Through September 2010 there have been 226 potential suicides this year with 174 confirmed and 52 still under investigation. During this same period last year, there were 185 suicides with a total of 242 for all of 2009. These numbers underrepresent the problem of suicide among the military and veteran population since many suicides are unknown or go unreported. Untreated psychological injuries have pushed many troops and veterans to take their own lives. Despite numerous suicide prevention programs military wide, servicemembers continue to take their own lives at alarming rates. Last month, four decorated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars took their lives in the same week at Fort Hood. Admiral Mullen recently acknowledged that suicides will continue to increase in the coming months as many servicemembers return to their home stations after years of deployment. “The emergency issue right now is suicides,” Mullen said. To end the suicide epidemic, IAVA continues to call on the VA and DOD to address this problem. We need a nationwide campaign to combat suicide and promote the use of DOD and VA services such as Vet Centers and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Admiral Mullen’s recent statements may bring attention to this issue, but until there is a national campaign targeting every servicemember and veteran, many will continue to fall through the cracks. For more information on this issue read IAVA’s Issue Report: Invisible Wounds: Psychological and Neurological Injuries Confront a New Generation of Veterans.
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