Study: No Link Between Combat, Military Suicides
Suicide risk factors same as in civilian population
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2013 10:38 PM CDT
FILE - A U.S. soldier walks atop his armored vehicle at sunset as he prepares for a nighttime military exercise in the Kuwaiti desert south of the Iraqi border on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2002. Combat appears...   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

(Newser) – People in the military kill themselves for the same reasons civilians do and there is no clear link between combat or deployment overseas and the military's surging suicide rate, according to a new study. Researchers, who tracked 150,000 soldiers from 2001 to 2008, found that most of those who killed themselves were heavy drinkers who suffered from depression or had been diagnosed with manic depression, CNN reports. Surprisingly, being deployed for longer than a year was associated with a lower risk of suicide.

The study suggests that military suicides can be curbed with the same approaches used in civilian life, but the problem in the military is that doctors can end patients' careers by recommending early discharge, making soldiers less likely to seek help, Army Medical Corps Col. Charles Engel tells Bloomberg. "The answer has to be an effort to approximate civilian standards of confidentiality," he says. "Unless we’re dealing with an imminent risk to combat or a tactical mission, really we should be using civilians’ standards."

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Aug 8, 2013 12:59 PM CDT
This sounds like a typical propaganda line of BS from the Pentagon. Maybe it is not just the combat but the entire ruinous process that soldiers endure in Today's Army of One! Military training is useless, boring and destroys self-esteem to make the recruit willing to disregard their own best interests and accept any horseshit that is shoved down your throats including killing people on command. Combat destroys many of the victims that commit atrocities. Drug and alcohol abuse are symptoms of this demoralized depression. I know a lot of combat veterans. Many are fukked up permanently.
Aug 7, 2013 1:01 PM CDT
In other news, the research team (5 individuals who formed a corporation) "who tracked 150,000 soldiers from 2001 to 2008," was awarded another $250 million government grant to continue their research through 2017. All of the 150,000 soldiers and/or their families were contacted by a $100 per day Filipino outsource company. The study took 30 days to accomplish. In the future survey there will be an added 2 questions to already 2 that were asked before. When soldiers can't be contacted, an email is sent. If the email isn't responded to, it is presumed that these individuals are not deceased, but in alcohol rehap.
Aug 7, 2013 10:46 AM CDT
I'm sure it's a combination of combat drama and the fact that vets come back to a society that treats like them shit. If Vets had first dibs on all the top tier government jobs, when finishing their enlistment, their suicide rate would probably be cut in half. HOWEVER, the government is so full of cronyism, people hooking up friends and family with comfy high paying government jobs, that Vets don't stand a chance getting them. I think going in to the military is a rip off, but only because the government can't secure you a job when you get out. Why should some fat, lazy and rude DMV worker be given a job before an X Marine? As for the private job sector, when you go into the military, it's almost as if your resume has a 4 year hole in it..... Anyway, there are no victims in this world, only volunteers. Go into the military, and you're taking a big risk with your more ways thane one.