Noting this piece below in today’s US Defence Dept news feed. What’s interesting about the figures in this piece is that suicides in the Marines and Army are increasing year by year since 2007, though that increase may be an increase in the actual number reported following investigations, due to militaries focusing more and more attention and resources on this problem. This report comes in the wake of a recent report carried June 17th on National Public Radio that US military suicides now equal combat deaths in Afghanistan. I learned about this NPR report while listening to a discussion of military suicides and their link to stress and strain on overdeployed personnel on the Diane Rehm show last week. The discussion is worth a listen, especially some of the comments by Nancy Yousseff, Pentagon correspondent with McClatchy News who has embedded with US troops in theatre and has noted the increase in attempts to try to make soldiers aware of depression and suicide.
Anyway, here’s the Pentagon story:
Services Work to Learn More About Brain Ailments, Suicides
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 22, 2010 – Post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and suicides among servicemembers are interrelated problems requiring holistic prevention methods and more scientific study, military leaders told a Senate panel today. Video
“The reality is, the study of the brain is an emerging science, and there still is much to be learned,” Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing about how the services are dealing with brain injuries and mental health problems.
The vice chiefs of the Navy and Air Force, the Marine Corps’ assistant commandant and a Veterans Affairs Department health official also spoke before the committee. All agreed with Chiarelli that the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are coordinating better than ever to diagnose and treat brain injuries and mental disorders, and that much more is known about such conditions today than when combat operations began after Sept. 11, 2001.
Read the whole piece here.