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Ear to the Ground

Suicides Double Among National Guard, Reserves

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Posted on Jan 19, 2011
U.S. Army / Sgt. Alvaro Lupercio

The Army’s investment in suicide prevention appears to be paying off, with the first drop among active duty soldiers in five years. However the number of National Guardsmen and reservists who killed themselves—half of whom never saw combat—nearly doubled in the last year.

The Washington Post:

The officials said they were puzzled by the significant increase in the number of suicides in National Guard and Reserve units, which almost doubled from 80 deaths in 2009 to 145 deaths in 2010.

“If you think you know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know, because we don’t know what it is,” [Army vice chief of staff Gen. Peter] Chiarelli said.

About half of the National Guard and Reserve soldiers who killed themselves last year had never deployed to a combat zone; by contrast, about two-thirds of the active-duty soldiers who killed themselves had previously deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, or were there when they took their lives.

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By berniem, January 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

I really don’t think that anything done by our glorious christian military has affected the suicide rate; rather I believe that the vast majority of those prone to do so already have! FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!

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By Rodney, January 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just the thought of going to war is enough to want to
kill yourself.

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By Mike3, January 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Where is Rumsfeld when you need him?

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By freikish, January 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

Seriously?  Can I answer their question?  Hopelessness increases thoughts of suicide!  And guess what encourages hopelessness?  Poverty!  And guess what happens when reservists get called up?  They tend to lose their jobs.  While it’s not _supposed_ to happen, if they actually have a good job, chances are their employer has to find someone to do that job while they’re out. So they come back to their employer and find that someone else is capable of replacing them, and given the time away, is probably doing a better job than they are capable of doing upon return.

I’ll leave filling in the rest of the story as an exersize for the reader…

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, January 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

War is a terrible thing and something to be avoided.

Seeing body parts of friends and comrades who were there a minute ago is something you never forget.

The people who create and maintain the wars have never been on the front lines of one.

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By Pragmatic Realist, January 20, 2011 at 12:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that a certain number of people join the Guard and reserves out of economic desperation in the first place. The threat of upcoming deployments may be a factor, as may be the death or injury of friends who have already been deployed.

The general wants one thing to be the root of this, but there are probably many.

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By gerard, January 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

“When we put more time between deployments, that will be a huge factor in helping with this problem,” said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army’s vice chief of staff.

Then how about no deployments at all?  Seems like a no-brainer to me.  Make peace, not war.

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