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The Epidemic in the U.S. Military

Updated on June 18, 2013


It is a very sad state of affairs when a military organization has more suicides than combat related deaths. That is what the US military faces and seems clueless to prevent it. Last year, 2012, the US military lost more to suicide than combat losses, some 349 killed themselves while 229 were killed in combat in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon calls it an epidemic and only became concerned in 2006. Since then, there are numerous programs to help vets deal with depression and post-traumatic stress from combat. In the Summer of 2012, there was one suicide a day. The Army has hired more mental health workers and health care providers to combat this alarming trend. By branches, the Army has the highest, 182 suicides, the Marines with 48, while both the Navy and Airforce had 60.

Is the combat in Afghanistan and Iraq worse than in Vietnam? It seems to be based upon the suicide rates. How can a soldier survive the stress of being in war zone, yet, when back in the world, decides to kill himself? Why do some soldiers adapt easily to civilian life and others utterly fail? Does receiving help prevent a suicide?

In this war against suicide, the U.S. Military is grasping at straws. Depression and loneliness are nasty enemies of the mind.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 5 years ago

      Thanks, good insight.

    • Gawth profile image

      Ron Gawthorp 5 years ago from Millboro, Virginia

      I contend that the problem is repeated combat duty tours. While an singular combat action can cause PTSD, the practice of using the same troops repeatedly is way over-stressing our troops. These poor service men and women are repeatedly uprooted for another tour in the war zone. In World War II and Korea you were there for the duration. In Vietnam you only had to accept one, 1-year tour, any others were voluntary. These are the first real wars fought by all volunteer troops. Always before there was the draft. I think they are just being expected to do too much. God Bless Them All!

    • dailytop10 profile image

      dailytop10 5 years ago from Davao City

      Never heard about this before. What a sad reality. A salute to every soldier out there who risk their lives to serve their country. I do hope something is done to prevent this situation from lingering. Thank you for sharing this information.