Suicide Rate in the Military

For years our country has been going through life dealing with issues and problems. Some things just disappeared and no longer were issues, others had to be dealt with, and some are still a problem. War is one thing for centuries we have had to deal with and resolve, many of us worry about the people in the military and how their lives are in jeopardy. We always think that getting shot or blown-up is the worse way to die and basically the only way to die. We lack the knowledge and realization that many in the military suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

This has cost many soldiers there life during active duty and even long after the war. Our military has been denying and is un-willing to look at the fact that suicide in the military is sky rocketing, it is a climbing statistic. Why do they deny this? Is it because our government and military are worried that young recruits will refuse to join due to the training they receive will never prepare them for what they see in war? There could be many reasons, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the rate of suicide just keeps getting higher and higher in the military.

The average civilian suicide rate compared to the average military suicide rate isn’t even close anymore and will become worse; you can also look at past wars to our current war for these facts. The suicides have maybe always been there because of war, but possibly the public wasn’t as aware. The public seems to be even less aware with the military pushing the issue to not report any problem that exists in relation to PTSD and/or suicide. The military has to deal with deaths every year, but they never thought they would have to start dealing with an almost career high rate for suicide.

The military is in denial of the rate being so high, when they really should be acknowledging and trying to fix the problem. They think a simple way to get rid of this problem is by simply prosecuting any soldier that tries to take his/her life. That is a poor idea; these soldiers sign up willing to give their own life for their country. Just because they don’t die on a battlefield doesn’t mean they aren’t traumatized. If they fail at suicide they shouldn’t be thrown in jail they should be given therapy and get help.

If soldiers start getting prosecuted for trying to commit suicide, then it will scare any solider to ever admit he has Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. We should be trying to help these men and women who are on the line everyday trying to protect us; instead we won’t put any funding into programs that could help our veterans and current soldiers. If we don’t start putting money into this now, when will we? When it gets so out of control, when it’s on every news station and in every newspaper, it is getting to that point.

More soldiers have taken their life, than have actually died this past year on the battle field. The main issue’s that researchers have found out that it may be for reasons like substance abuse, depression, PTSD or just coming home to no one because their family left them. One out of every 10 soldiers with depression or some other issue who is admit into a VA hospital has had success, the VA has successfully decreased suicide rates with men and women who stay in the VA programs.

It’s just hard to get every soldier in these programs that have an issue because of poor use in military funding or not enough funding. What’s even worse is that soldiers are told by their superiors not to report Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome because they state the soldier is just choosing an easy way to get out of the military. The military has been trying very little to stop suicide with only small efforts, like a nasal spray; the medicine from the spray is supposed to move into the brain stopping you from the thought of killing yourself.

The military, especially the army, has come out with a book for soldiers in hopes they will realize they are not alone. On the negative side, the military is also trying to pass the law so that soldiers are punished for attempting to take their life; this won’t help and will just make things worse. If they really want to stop this problem, they would put more of an effort in than what they have done so far. They wouldn’t punish them; they would help them and get what they need since they did serve our country with their life.

If the military was doing a decent or good job at making things better and fixing these hurt and broken soldiers, then families of these soldiers wouldn’t be asking for help and demanding that our soldiers receive better care. The suicide rate has gone up 15% in 2012 from 2011, 301 soldiers took their lives in that year compared to in 2005 when over 200 soldiers killed themselves. 165 active-duty soldiers and 118 non-active soldiers took their own life, registered in 2011. In 2012 it was a potential of 177 active-duty soldiers and 126 potential active-duty soldiers took their life.

It’s getting so bad; the military isn’t even exactly precise in knowing how many soldiers have taken their lives. 2012 suicides in the US Army – 182 suicides, US Marines Corps – 48 suicides, US Navy – 60 suicides, US Air Force – 59 suicides. Someone in the military active-duty services dies every 25 hours, and every non active-duty soldier takes their own life every hour. These are just statistics the military does know, there are some soldiers that have slipped through the cracks and haven’t been reported.

This is an issue when it comes to proving/providing any numbers, how can the military know how bad suicide really is unless the statistics are correct in including all military related suicides? In 2009 the army suicide death ratio was 29 deaths per 100,000 military, and the civilian death ratio was 18. 5. The following year of 2008 the ratio was 20. 2 in the army and 19. 2 for civilians. It just keeps getting worse each year, and it doesn’t seem to be changing. Is the rate going up because the wars are getting more violent, or maybe it’s the heat that drives soldiers crazy?

The military does not have an answer, just theories about what makes a soldiers depressed and why it’s only starting to become a huge issue now. They have only now; after the rate shot up in 2008, decided they should research and come out with a nasal spray that can possibly fix some of the problems. Even in physical injury scenarios, soldiers have to be admitted over and over again to VA hospitals and this also causes depression as well, leaving them a lot of times not being able to see their families depending on where the VA hospitals are located.

The military also targets young men; our military has the youngest soldiers they have had in a long time. Young men keep signing up as soon as they are 18; not understanding what happens mentally with soldiers. These young men are in-experienced and seem to be more emotional. Many of them don’t know what they are getting themselves into and once you register you can’t go back. The military should have to let anyone who registers sign an agreement saying they have to see a therapist once a week; this will help us know when they are suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and when they need to take a leave of absence.

No one can argue the fact that we have many young soldiers who may have thought the military was the way to go in regards to their future, and then after all they see come home mentally messed up at the age of 21. I keep repeating myself, but the military and government need to fix this soon before it gets out of control to the point our entire military falls apart. There eventually will also be less people enlisting because of the realization of the mental instability they are left with after they come home with no help.

The military is almost going backwards with resolving or at least reducing the suicide issue. They are scaring soldiers into hiding their mental issues, superiors telling them they’re cowards and they’re just trying to take an easy way out of the military. If soldiers are seeing a therapist at least once a week, then the therapist would able to diagnose, confirm and verify this issue for any soldier dealing with these mental issues. The Military has said that 31% of soldiers who commit suicide had issues years prior to signing up that associated with their decision of taking their life.

Even if this is so it doesn’t give them a reason to not help the soldiers in the military out, if anything they should check the background to see if the soldier is even stable enough to serve in a war. Researchers have found and are starting to worry that the suicide rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may double or even triple in comparison to past wars, such as the Civil War where soldiers were sometimes having to fight and kill their own family, friends and neighbors in some circumstances. The rate one year after the Civil war was 30.

4 of every 100,000 which is an outstanding, ridiculous number. If researchers are now worried that veterans after these last 2 wars will now double that Civil War statistic, it’s more than time to take action. Nasal Spray is just a start and hasn’t even been fully perfected; we need more than one idea. If that one idea fails we will be in even more trouble, plus the not enough funding. The Military needs more funding for Veterans and Active-duty soldiers to overcome these issues. Will we just sit back and watch what happens and hope for the best, or take action?

It’s a huge problem right now but yet it isn’t often present neither on TV news channels nor in daily/weekly newspapers. People need to wake up and realize it’s almost like a plague that is slowly spreading though out the military, infecting our young soldiers. The suicide rate has been on the rise for the past five years and hasn’t slowed down, only speeding up extremely fast. There need to be attention and funds put toward this sand and very real issue before it is completely out of control.