Monday, August 10, 2009

U.S. Military - the Suicide Factory

The talk of joining together military service with college as a way for a DREAMer to regularize his/her status is still with us. This added option will certainly help the DREAM Act pass. Yet at what price? Suicide is not the only consequence of serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is also Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (which the military does not like to treat) - and the numerous horrifying brain injuries that we are now seeing - in soldiers who a few years ago would have died. Our new technologies are saving their lives, but the quality of their existence is questionable...

Soldiering has never been good for your health. But at least the military is now willing to see why so many are committing suicide...
By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 10, 2009

Doctors leading the largest study ever of suicide and mental health in the military are developing intensive soldier surveys that they hope will provide clues as to why suicide rates among Army personnel have grown dramatically in recent years.

The study, a collaboration between the National Institute of Mental Health and the Army, will seek data from every soldier recruited into the Army over the next three years as well as from about 90,000 soldiers already in the service, and the project could eventually involve half a million participants.

The soldiers will be asked on a volunteer basis for personal information that can be used to make psychological assessments. Family members might be contacted for further information. In some cases, saliva and blood samples will be collected for genetic and neurobiological studies.

The information will serve as an "ongoing natural laboratory," officials said, as researchers follow these soldiers for years, looking for common strands as to which individuals are more likely to commit suicide.

"We're looking at suicide as the culmination of a long chain of events," said Robert K. Heinssen, the NIMH study director.

In 2008, 143 soldiers committed suicide, the highest number in the three decades that the Army has kept to complete WP article

chart is from the Huffington Post

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