Surge in suicides among US soldiers


(AL JAZEERA)   Figures show suicides among active-duty troops now average almost one a day, outnumbering forces killed in action.

Suicides are surging among US soldiers, averaging nearly one a day this year, according to statistics from the country’s defense department.

The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year outnumber the US forces killed in action in Afghanistan by about 50 per cent, according to statistics obtained by the Associated Press news agency.

The numbers are rising among the 1.4 million active military personnel despite years of effort to encourage troops to seek help with mental health problems.

The reasons for the increase are not fully understood. Among explanations, studies have pointed to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription medications and personal financial problems.

Jackie Garrick, head of a newly established Defense Suicide Prevention Office at the Pentagon, said on Thursday that the suicide numbers this year are troubling.

“We are very concerned at this point that we are seeing a high number of suicides at a point in time where we were expecting to see a lower number of suicides,” she said, adding that the weak US economy may be confounding preventive efforts even as the pace of military deployments eases.

Because suicides had leveled off in 2010 and 2011, this year’s upswing has caught some officials by surprise.

Army data suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial proportion of suicides are committed by soldiers who never deployed.

Afghanistan casualties

The unpopular war in Afghanistan is winding down with the last combat troops scheduled to leave at the end of 2014.

He [Major John Roucco] had suffered injury in combat and he had also suffered from depression and let it go untreated for years. And because of that, he’s dead today

– Kim Ruocco, widow

But this year has seen record numbers of soldiers being killed by Afghan troops, and there have also been several scandals involving US troop misconduct.

The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through to June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 per cent increase.

This year’s January to May total is 16 per cent ahead of the figures for 2009, which ended with the highest yearly total thus far.

The suicide pattern varies over the course of a year, but in each of the past five years the trend through May was a reliable predictor for the full year, according to a chart based on figures provided by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.

Sign of weakness

Many in the military believe that seeking health for mental health issues is seen as a sign of weakness and thus a potential threat to advancement.

Kim Ruocco, widow of Marine Major John Ruocco, a helicopter pilot who hanged himself in 2005 between Iraq deployments, said he was unable to bring himself to go for help.

“He was so afraid of how people would view him once he went for help,” she said.

“He thought that people would think he was weak, that people would think he was just trying to get out of redeploying or trying to get out of service, or that he just couldn’t hack it – when, in reality, he was sick.

“He had suffered injury in combat and he had also suffered from depression and let it go untreated for years. And because of that, he’s dead today.”

Ruocco is currently director of suicide prevention programs for the military support organization Tragedy Assistance Programs, or TAPS.

The military services have set up confidential telephone hotlines, placed more mental health specialists on the battlefield, added training in stress management, invested more in research on mental health risk and taken other measures.

The suicide numbers began surging in 2006. They soared in 2009 and then leveled off before climbing again this year.

The statistics include only active-duty troops, not veterans who returned to civilian life after fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Nor does the Pentagon’s tally include non-mobilized National Guard or Reserve members – part-time troops who normally divide time between civilian life and military services.

15 Responses to Surge in suicides among US soldiers

  • fine by me, just one more war criminal piece of american filth
    the rest of the world wont have to hunt down and try them for war crimes and crimes against humanity when the dust settles.

    you fucking american jew controlled assholes like the dirty israelie wont be able to travel any where with out someone trying to blow your little war criminal heads off.

    and i hope we use more zeal when hunting you fucks down than we did with the NAZI’S

  • First, all wars have suicides and this war is higher in suicides bc its lasted for 10 long years and like Viet Nam, we’re not being allowed to win and get out…

    Second, AL JAZEERA sucks and is just a mouth piece for radical Islam, period and further, should be put out of its misery….

    Third, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa is a complete infantile moron…And, inspite of all the wrong America has done through the years, the world would be enslaved by Hitler, Japan, China or Russia…take your pick, if America haddn’t stepped up to the plate and kept the world free…Name me one other country who’s done that for the world!!!

    The Israili government and Massad have done things they should be ashamed of but don’t condem the Jewish people for what their government does…

    And, I’ve traveled the world over and can tell you that there is no, I repeat, NO place as free and as good as America, inspite of the current government and some of the past ones, as well…It’still beats the shit out of any place on earth…

  • @ aaaaaaaaaaaaaa – Idiot. Coward. Naive. Tool. Fake. These words come to mind when you post crap like you just posted.
    Get to know a soldier/veteran. We’re just like you. Well……maybe not JUST like YOU. But we’re just like the average person. Some of us are awake, some of us aren’t.

    @ SPARKY – Right on! I too have traveled to many other countries. While this is the most free country, it is slowly becoming the most controlled. It hasn’t gone as far as Alex Jones would make you believe, but we’ll get there eventually.
    People like you, keep this movement going.

    @ POPEYE – Love the articles. Keep ’em coming.


  • The biggest force against bad government is "WE THE PEOPLE"…And,I can see it coming that it’s going to take millions of us patriots to march on Washington and force the government to start adhering to the Constitution…

    It’s also going to take good Supreme Court judges to protect our rights…The last two are complete ZEROS…Actually, I feel that Judge Andrew Napalotano would be a great choice…

    And for aaaaaaaaaaaaa’s info, I am a disabled vet and was serving my country before he was a hardon…

  • NOW ALL AMERICA HAS TO DO IS CONVINCE THE LORD "WE DID IT FOR HIM"…………HE’LL understand the death of a few hundred thousand children,WON’T HE……………..

  • @ JediPatriot & @ sparky

    when people signup to fight aggressive immoral illegal wars, based on lies, against countries that were never a threat to anyone, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men women and children, then they shouldnt expect sympathy if they decide to kill themself…

    now, if youve been a part of any of this, there is one honourable option for you, just do it.

    americans like you, are americas worst enemy, and too stupid to know it.

  • I’d hate to pin my & my family’s future on people, like Yoda above…I guess WWI, II and Korea, as well as the cold war with Russia, were some of the wars little Yoda was referring to…more than 20,000,000 people lost their lives to Stalin, Hitler, Hirohito, and don’t forget later on what good old Mao in China did to 30,000,000 of his people who he murdered or starved to death…

    Grow up, Yoda…Try to remember that the"Empire" comes in many forms and colors…

  • @ Yoda – A lot of the soldiers that signed up for that war believed in what America stood for. They believed in their government. Blame the government, not the tools they use. That would be like blaming a gun for killing a person (only idiots would do that). A lot of soldiers are patriotic. Or… least they think they are (by their definition of patriotic). Sure, there are some of those soldiers that joined because they love to fight….anytime…..anywhere. Those guys…….We don’t much care for those guys. Put ’em on point and off ya go.
    These soldiers aren’t expecting sympathy. In fact, they are hoping that they can make it through their PTSD on their own, without any help. Their egos are what keeps them from getting help. Sympathy? Wow……that’s just the wrong idea, PERIOD.
    As for SPARKY and I being stupid…..I;m thinking that our posts show a little more intelligence than yours. I’m not saying YOU’RE stupid, but it is what it is.

  • Of course it helps if I can spell correctly. I;m = I’m

  • Ooooraahh…Semper-Fi

  • @Sparky and Jedi Patriot–I agree with you that a lot of people join the military for what they believe are noble and patriotic reasons, or the simple fact they are unable to find decent jobs in this collapsing economy, which the US government’s illegal and nation-bankrupting wars for Israel and the international banksters and war profiteers are largely responsible for creating. However, the fact remains they are now VOLUNTARILY, there is no draft, mind you, serving in an enemy force that is being ordered to invade, occupy, terrorize, pillage and loot the rest of the world, seemingly. It is irrelevant whether they are aware of this or not. They have been lied to, brainwashed with insipid patriotard drivel and propaganda about "defending freedom and democracy" when they are doing the exact opposite, and certainly not defending our own borders. The US military is not defending our freedom in ANY way, shape or form. If they were, they would immediately attack Washington D.C. and Tel Aviv. No, the US military will be the ones turning their weapons on and murdering American citizens when they are ordered to just like they are presntly murdering Afghan and Iraqi citizens and God knows who else around the world. Surely you are aware the military is already training for internal policing within the US, a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, and for the rounding up of so-called "domestic terrorists" to be thrown into some damn FEMA gulag. They have sold out for a government paycheck, they are cowardly, criminal, sadistic, terroristic and traitorous MAGGOTS and SCUM just like this nation’s "law enforcement", most of whom are ex-military now. So, no, they get no sympathy from me when they off themselves–it is the most honorable thing these people with no honor can do. And they way I and many other people see it, it is that much fewer ZOGbots the government can unleash on us.

  • @ Raymond – A lot of the soldiers don’t know that they are being lied to and used. Those that are waking up, are getting out.
    The more we turn our noses up at the military, the more likely they will willfully be used against us. All of this anti-soldier (not anti-military) rhetoric is just pushing them into a fight with "we, the people". And the more I hear about this anti-soldier (not anti-military) rhetoric, the more it makes me take their side. Instead of saying how stupid and worthless and murderous they are, we should be trying to inform them. I am!!!!!
    As for the police, I work with them on and off (I’m not one – nor would I ever be one) and I don’t trust a single one of them. And sure, a lot of them are ex-military, but most of the ex-military are the ones that I would put on point and be done with.

  • JediPatriot–I really hope the soldiers who are waking up do get as soon as possible and become one of the good guys, because we will certainly need them. Or the best thing for them to do is not join the military to begin with, which after my own experience in the military, I try to advise every young person I meet who is considering joining. Perhaps my post was a bit strongly worded, but I also feel I am trying to inform people about this sorry situation. Hired thugs and enforcers of despotic governments have been around since the dawn of history unfortunately, and there will always be individuals who will willingly kill on command. But this is our time and place, there is a genocidal war being waged on us by "our" government, especially on White people, and the time is past for nice, pretty platitudes, voting ourselves out of this mess, etc., so I feel I have to call it like I see it, even if I do offend some people’s sensibilities. Best of luck to you sir, in trying to educate as many of our people as you can.

  • Sure hope you guys are wrong and that the American mind will prevail when push comes to shove…

  • @ SPARKY – People grow thru adversity. The American mind will prevail. The only way we can fail is if we give up. And no one is giving up.

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