Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Data On Military Suicides

I meant to post on this story last week when it appeared. The NYT reported on 19 Jan that the US Army has released statistics showing that 2011 suicides among active duty soldiers was at a record high of 164, up from 162 in 2009.

In 2008, the US Army suicide rate was 20 per 100,000, with a rate of 18 per 100,000 among a comparable civilian age demographic.

In 2010, the US Army said that 60% of suicides were committed by young soldiers in the first four years of their service. This figure challenges the perceived wisdom that one or multiple deployments may contribute to suicide, but it does not deny that PTSD and other results of deployment may increase suicide risk.

Military chaplains are well aware that young soldiers, especially in recruit and training prgrams, are at risk.

I am not aware of current data showing suicide rates in other western militaries, including the Canadian Forces.

The same NYT story also had the disturbing news that violent sexual crimes committed by active duty soldiers had increased by 30%, with half of the victims being women soldiers between the ages of 18 and 21. “'This is unacceptable,' Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the departing vice chief of staff of the Army, said at a news conference, referring to the jump in violent sex offenses. 'We have zero tolerance for this.' General Chiarelli said factors driving the increase in sex crimes were alcohol use and new barracks that offered more privacy. He said it was also possible that reporting of the offenses had increased."

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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