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The Epidemic Of USA Military Suicide

us military suicide remedies

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#1    regeneratia

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 03:10 PM

The Epidemic Of Military Suicide

By Allen Frances, MD | September 19, 2012

Quote source: http://www.psychiatr...e/10168/2103476

With understandable urgency, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has made suicide one of his top priorities, instructing commanders at all levels to feel acutely accountable for it. The numbers are startling. On average 1 active duty soldier is killing himself each day--twice the number of combat deaths and twice the civilian rate.
Suicides have jumped dramatically since 2005 and increased by 18% in just the last year. The DOD and VA are groping for explanations and plans of action--clearly, just commanding the commanders to prevent suicide can't possibly do very much. And, sadly, psychiatry has no ready or certain answers, no sure way to predict or prevent suicide. Research in this area has huge methodological problems and is unlikely to bear any low hanging fruit. So, we may have to rely on obvious, common sense suggestions:
(MORE: Military Mental Health: An Army of Children)
End Quote

I think before we allow our sons and daughters feel inspired enough to fight for oil and fiber optic hubs that feed Asia,  we need to consider just how the military institution cares for those people who are joining them. In this article, it addresses just how to stop this horrible trend that is harming our loved ones. I highly recommend you read the remedies in the article, and ask that you relate your thoughts on this issue.

Edited by regeneratia, 20 October 2012 - 03:11 PM.

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#2    and then

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:08 AM

Selective service should be re-instituted.  A ready pool of draft eligible young people exist in this country.  If they are too fat then put them in a boot camp to trim them down first.  It is the only fair answer if these wars are going to continue.  Spreading the sacrifice around will slow the fervor of jumping into ill advised conflicts also.....

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#3    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:45 AM

Conscription?
That's your solution to suicide??

I must not fear. Fear is the Mind-Killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and to move through me. And when it is gone I will turn the inner eye to see it's path.
When the fear is gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

#4    and then

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:01 AM

View PostWearer of Hats, on 21 October 2012 - 02:45 AM, said:

Conscription?
That's your solution to suicide??
Conscription is my solution to greatly reducing the stresses of long term, damned near unending deployments of the same guys, year after year.  With a draft the "labor pool" will be vastly greater and fewer troops will be expected to serve more than a single tour in the hot spots.  The greatest advantage is that it will SHARPLY FOCUS the US public on the necessity of supporting these adventures when little "Johnny" is being sent instead of the un-named kid down the block who can find work anywhere else...

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#5    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:38 PM

I was in a unit that had 2 suicides in 13 months...
Here is my opinion on it...

2 major factors...
People cannot get out of a situation. They preach the wingman concept and talk about military like it is a big family. It is not. Many people do not give a crap about you. They are worried about advancing their own careers and many are power hungry. They do not rely on logic and reason but rather tell you what to do or how things are because they can. They don't care about helping you, just telling you what to do. When troops bring up issues and try to make suggestions, they are ignored. The military is not a democracy. Troops get stuck in a bad situation and cannot get out of it because they higher-ups do not care and they cannot quit. The key is that you cannot quit. You signed a contract, you are stuck. It is a haven for lazy people because you cannot get fired but it also keeps people that want to get out.

How many of you would think that working at a dining facility is a stressful job? How many would guess that the dining facility at Langley Air Force Base, VA had 2 suicides in 13 months? People ask me if I liked my job there or if it was stressful...I think the suicides speak for themselves. It was crappy people in charge, which made ones life horrible and there was no way to get out of it.

Second major factor is seperation from loved ones. The leading causes of suicides are relationship issues and financial issues. Being away from loved ones for months or years at a time takes its toll. It is really quite simple...Suzzy has not seen Johnny in 14 months and needs someone to comfort her...she finds someone, breaks up with Johnny, not being able to handle it (because she was the one thing that was keeping him going,) finds no reason to keep going and ends it. The fact that the military pretty much requires you to spend a lot of time apart leads to relationship problems, which leads to suicide. They have a saying in the Air Force...if you come in married, you won't be for long...

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#6    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:40 PM

View Postand then, on 21 October 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

Conscription is my solution to greatly reducing the stresses of long term, damned near unending deployments of the same guys, year after year.  With a draft the "labor pool" will be vastly greater and fewer troops will be expected to serve more than a single tour in the hot spots.  The greatest advantage is that it will SHARPLY FOCUS the US public on the necessity of supporting these adventures when little "Johnny" is being sent instead of the un-named kid down the block who can find work anywhere else...

Wouldn't help...would probably make the problem worse...We have no shortages of people that WANT to sign up and do it willingly.

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#7    preacherman76

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:07 PM

View Postand then, on 21 October 2012 - 01:08 AM, said:

Selective service should be re-instituted.  A ready pool of draft eligible young people exist in this country.  If they are too fat then put them in a boot camp to trim them down first.  It is the only fair answer if these wars are going to continue.  Spreading the sacrifice around will slow the fervor of jumping into ill advised conflicts also.....

Why, so we can force them to kill themself too? Guys are killing them selfs at record pace and choose to be there. Imagine the body count of those who would be forced to be there. No, maybe it would be a better option to just leave places like Afgan. There is no reason to be there at this point anyway.

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:47 PM

View Postpreacherman76, on 21 October 2012 - 01:07 PM, said:

Why, so we can force them to kill themself too? Guys are killing them selfs at record pace and choose to be there. Imagine the body count of those who would be forced to be there. No, maybe it would be a better option to just leave places like Afgan. There is no reason to be there at this point anyway.
I didn't say that a draft should be instituted so we could stay in any place.  I said it would relieve the stress on the undermanned force so none of them had to go on multiple tours AND so we'd think harder about going at all.

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#9    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 04:20 AM

View Postand then, on 21 October 2012 - 02:47 PM, said:

I didn't say that a draft should be instituted so we could stay in any place.  I said it would relieve the stress on the undermanned force so none of them had to go on multiple tours AND so we'd think harder about going at all.

We aren't understaffed...we have been REDUCING our numbers. If you want us to think harder about going to war, vote Obama.

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#10    MiskatonicGrad

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:46 AM

View Postregeneratia, on 20 October 2012 - 03:10 PM, said:


With understandable urgency, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has made suicide one of his top priorities,

Taken out of context that's freaking hilarious.

Don't get me wrong I spent 5yrs. in the green machine and I understand the stresses that go along with it. hell just getting through basic and AIT can make some people snap let alone long deployments overseas. hope who ever gets in the oval office backs off on the military long enough for them to fall back and regroup.

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:28 AM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 23 October 2012 - 04:20 AM, said:

We aren't understaffed...we have been REDUCING our numbers. If you want us to think harder about going to war, vote Obama.
We clearly ARE understaffed when the same people are being deployed 3 and 4 times.  Some will go that often because they want to but I think that's rare.  And I give Obama credit for pulling the plug on Iraq.  I didn't at first but the longer all this goes on - especially in light of the crap in Afghanistan - I realize the futility of our plans.  But just because he is pulling down our troop levels doesn't mean he's solving the greater problem of how to deal with a resurgent enemy.  We WILL have to contest with them - either there or on our own soil.  But it needs to be done smarter and with much less concern about who thinks we are "right".

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#12    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:55 PM

View Postand then, on 23 October 2012 - 08:28 AM, said:

We clearly ARE understaffed when the same people are being deployed 3 and 4 times.  Some will go that often because they want to but I think that's rare.  And I give Obama credit for pulling the plug on Iraq.  I didn't at first but the longer all this goes on - especially in light of the crap in Afghanistan - I realize the futility of our plans.  But just because he is pulling down our troop levels doesn't mean he's solving the greater problem of how to deal with a resurgent enemy.  We WILL have to contest with them - either there or on our own soil.  But it needs to be done smarter and with much less concern about who thinks we are "right".

They go that often in the Army, but not in the Air Force. My career field deploys every year and a half on active duty for 4-6 months. Even with shorter, less frequent deployments, the suicide numbers are still bad. The number of deployments people go on does not have anything to do with being understaffed. It is quite simple, at least for active duty...On active duty, you get paid 365 days a year. If in the Army you are either at home training or deployed fighting. What do you think is a better way to spend government money? Money is also the issue in the guard and reserve. It costs a lot more to send a new troop through training, tech school, give him all new supplies, ect, than it is to just send someone that is already trained. No reason to spend money on a new troop when you have someone under contract that can go at lesser cost.

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#13    DieChecker

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:27 PM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 21 October 2012 - 12:38 PM, said:

I was in a unit that had 2 suicides in 13 months...
Here is my opinion on it...

2 major factors...
People cannot get out of a situation. They preach the wingman concept and talk about military like it is a big family. It is not. Many people do not give a crap about you. They are worried about advancing their own careers and many are power hungry. They do not rely on logic and reason but rather tell you what to do or how things are because they can. They don't care about helping you, just telling you what to do. When troops bring up issues and try to make suggestions, they are ignored. The military is not a democracy. Troops get stuck in a bad situation and cannot get out of it because they higher-ups do not care and they cannot quit. The key is that you cannot quit. You signed a contract, you are stuck. It is a haven for lazy people because you cannot get fired but it also keeps people that want to get out.

How many of you would think that working at a dining facility is a stressful job? How many would guess that the dining facility at Langley Air Force Base, VA had 2 suicides in 13 months? People ask me if I liked my job there or if it was stressful...I think the suicides speak for themselves. It was crappy people in charge, which made ones life horrible and there was no way to get out of it.

Second major factor is seperation from loved ones. The leading causes of suicides are relationship issues and financial issues. Being away from loved ones for months or years at a time takes its toll. It is really quite simple...Suzzy has not seen Johnny in 14 months and needs someone to comfort her...she finds someone, breaks up with Johnny, not being able to handle it (because she was the one thing that was keeping him going,) finds no reason to keep going and ends it. The fact that the military pretty much requires you to spend a lot of time apart leads to relationship problems, which leads to suicide. They have a saying in the Air Force...if you come in married, you won't be for long...
I saw much the same when I was in the Army almost 20 years ago. There are lots of petty sergeants who made Staff Sergeant (E6) in like 5 or 6 years and then stayed there 10 to 15 more, and are so very bitter and angry at anything and anyone, but they will not quit because they want that 20 year retirement, so they make everyone else miserable and stomp on anything that is not their own idea.

I also agree that most suicides are probably family related, due to something at home happening and the soldier being able to do Nothing about it. In a time of smartphones and facebook, news travels really, really fast. It used to be if you were deployed you had to wait till you got home before you found out your wife had left, or that your grandma died, now you know within minutes of anything that happens.

I blame the smartphones, as well as the long deployments.

As to consciption, that is very naive, IMHO, throwing under trained conscripts into foreign wars is a good way to get the suicide rate down only in comparison to the five to ten times more wounded and dead that will be created. Units go back over and over because they are experienced and THAT is what keeps their soldiers alive.

Edited by DieChecker, 23 October 2012 - 08:28 PM.

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#14    MiskatonicGrad

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 12:05 AM

I wonder if they took into account the type of units the suicides were happening in, if they were line units or REMF's. I have more experience with line unit's and most of them have their crap together. but it seemed to me a higher percentage of the rear echelon soldiers i delt with were off balance.

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#15    DieChecker

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 01:35 AM

View PostMiskatonicGrad, on 24 October 2012 - 12:05 AM, said:

I wonder if they took into account the type of units the suicides were happening in, if they were line units or REMF's. I have more experience with line unit's and most of them have their crap together. but it seemed to me a higher percentage of the rear echelon soldiers i delt with were off balance.
Could be.

Also it depends on the training/readyness of the unit, IMHO. When I was in Ft Stewart Georgia, I had the honor of acting as the OpFor (opposing force) for many National Guard units. At that time, the Nation Guard (NG) was a BBQ outfit, at least in Georgia and it was not uncommon for a single squad (8 men) of Regular Army guys to roll up on an entire Company (80+) of NG and totally trash them, sending them all off running in random directions into the swamps and woods. It was great fun. That is probably not the case anymore, but the point is the same that those units that are poorly trained and supervised (officers) are going to have a lot more problems, not just with suicide, but with everything.

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