It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Soldier suicides:Why so high?

page: 2
<< 1   >>

log in


posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 02:53 AM
A somber flag & star, jakyll-filled with sadness for Joshua Barber & his surviving family.

Terrible thing, suicide rates of veterans.
Thanks for input, recently deployed vets; you are hanging in there well, and not alone! Take meds; DON'T take meds; whatever you are comfortable with, I am too. flush them !

A book called: FLASHBACK Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the lessons of War by: Penny Coleman, gives an account through the eyes of a woman who's Vietnam Veteran husband killed himself, and her life's journey to understand it, deal with her guilt, and investigate & compare her story with other widows of vets who took thier own lives.

In short, she found that WWII vets never spoke a word about thier experiences out of fear of being lobotomized at thier local mental health institute! (That was still going on, in the 40's & 50's...).

Vietnam Vets are STILL occassionally committing suicide, to this day! Making the total number of suicides far surpass the 58,000 combat deaths that occurred during the war! Vietnam Suicides

One problem that sticks out to me, is how a soldier returning from combat has specialized skills, in regards to searching for, and possibly having to dispose of enemy personnel...WHOOOAAA; after a person has hunted humans, everything else looks kinda pale by comparison, ya know? (As so starkly portrayed in the 'Rambo' films).

I think the only solution would be to oust the war-mongering gov leaders, take an isolationist stance in foreign affairs, (but be ready), and outlaw any further investment activities by new gov leaders who profit from oil, military industrial complex contracts, and big pharmaceutical corporations, to name a few...

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 07:09 AM

Therapy that works for one may not work for another and meds are not a cure for mental illness,they just help you deal.

My opinion is the soldiers need to be with other soldiers who have actually been in the tough situations. These are the ones who will under stand. A program needs to be set up for soldiers by soldiers.

I agree that this would be a good thing to do because,as you said,most need to talk with someone who has actually been through what they have;someone who truly understands.


There have been suicides recorded in modern armies back to the days of the American Revolutionary War. There are also anecdotal reports from earlier sources. But none of these were conducted in a methodical manner. One can only guess at what the suicide rate for, say Prussian soldiers in the Wars of Frederick the Great, or suicides amongst Crusaders in the Second Crusade. Although these current numbers may be "high" in comparison to recent statistics, there is no way to say that they are "high" as compared to average suicide rates for armies in general.

But we're not talking about armies in general,we're talking about the US military and their yearly stats say that suicide this year may be at the highest its ever been.


I don't know how most soldiers live with themselves. They know that it's a wrong war, and yet they go and join anyways!

Thats just it,many don't.Many people have believed the lies and BS.
Plus,what about soldiers already in the military before war broke out,are they to risk a court martial for disobeying orders? It sounds harsh,but self preservation is one of the strongest instincts in man.

And,in case you didn't know,soldiers who desert during war time can still face the death penalty.

885. ART. 85. DESERTION.
Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

[edit on 2-12-2008 by jakyll]

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 07:24 AM
reply to post by ADVISOR

Thanks for sharing that insight. It sounds like it was a very difficult thing to do.

If I can just add to the subject that a lot of soldiers not only suffer from all they go through in combat and also the lack of support and assistance when they get home but also .....survivors guilt.

I know someone who came back from Vietnam who lost quite a few friends and the thing that made him suffer the most during his lifetime was the fact that he came home and his mates didn't. He had councelling and therapy, but it never made him feel any better for it.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 07:34 AM

Originally posted by Bunch
It goes beyond mental health for military members deployed. Is certainly part of it but the DoD needs to do more for our service members.

People are having marital problems, people are having problems readjusting to life out of deployment areas, people are nervous about when that next deployment is going to be. The DoD needs to develop an all inclusive plan to help service members. To include:

-shorter deployments

-longer time on station between deployments

-a mandatory program to help service members adjust to life back on station or civilian life after deployments.

-Identify service members that are having marital problems during deplyments and provide them with counseling

-mandatory mental health evaluations for those who have been involved in combat.

And thats just what I can think of right now, there is so much more that they could be doing right now.

Most of these services are already available to soldiers. Unfortunetly alot of soldiers won't use them because of pride. During the mandatory health evals all a soldier has to say is that there is nothing wrong with him and that is that. Now if a soldier says that he feels a certain way then they go and schedule a series of appointments.

The problem with the shorter deployments and longer time at home is that you can't have both. To give soldiers more time at home they have extended the deployment time by 3 months. That way most get 2 years stabilization at home.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 07:42 AM
reply to post by jakyll

In a time of war it is possible to face the death penalty, however it is very unlikely that a soldier would be put to death.

A personel experiance I had was in Germany in 2004. A guy I knew went on leave to Virginia. He didn't come back, after a 2 months he got picked up for speeding. He was taken to the nearest military post, arrested and eventually was given an other then honorable discharge. Sometimes they are given an article 15 and reduced in rank and forteture of pay. It really depends on whether the soldier is always in trouble or not.

Believe it or not, alot of soldiers go AWOL everyday. None have gotten the death penalty.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 03:17 PM
These bulk of these suicides are preventable. One of the most depressing thoughts for a soldier is a long drawn out affair of half measures. With no game clock or goal posts in sight.

"What's it like here?"

"We get up, go out, kill a few of them. Then they kill a few of us. Next day,
same thing. That's it."

To a combat soldier, this scenario is a nightmare. A seemingly drawn-out, non-ending war of attrition is a hateful, disgusting concept to a soldier, and if you don't believe it, ask one.

Thousand yard stare? A combination of exhaustion and numb resignation with no goal line in sight.

During the Civil War, most troops were infantrymen, and may have seen 100-159 days of combat spread over four years of war. By WWII, only 25% of the military were infantry, and the average number of days in combat for an infantryman in the Pacific was about 40 days. The 1st Marine Division who saw more action than any other division in the Pacific, spent 275 days in combat, spread over three years. That averages to less than 100 days per year. In Europe, the 2nd Infantry Division had the record, with 400 days of time in combat, spread from August of 1942, to May of 1945.

By Vietnam, the average infantry soldier saw about 240 days of combat in a single year! In fact, right now much greater numbers are piling up on our troops in Iraq.

Thus, we are seeing many more cases of "soldiers heart," "shell shock," "battle fatigue," or as they now call it, "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome."

A knowing commander will arrange for his men a week to two-week wind down period after combat operations in a remote, isolated area before they return to their loved ones. In this current manner of rapid transportation, it is most difficult for a young man to transition straight from the stressful environment of combat, and instantly return to loved ones.

There are seemingly horrific things one is absolutely required to do in combat that in a peacetime setting would seem unnecessary and at times extremely barbaric. There are other shocking things one experiences in combat that a non-combatant cannot fully understand, as they have absolutely NOTHING to compare to.

Thus, a combatant is not only reluctant to share their barbaric behavior, or horrific experiences with one who has no valid reference point, but at times, one cannot even find the words.

Oh, the military eventually gives it a shot. Currently there are counselors for those who may sufferer from combat stress, and they have drugs to offset the anxietieis. There are psychologists and psychiatrists who are available to help with the nighmares.

Some bad news. Drugs make it all the worse, and at best delay the healing process. Psychiatrists WHO HAVE NO EXPERIENCE IN COMBAT cannot fully understand, and they have absolutely nothing to compare it to.

However, given a week or two in relative isolation with time to reflect and reset the "go ballistic" mode, conversations with older, experienced combat veterans can eliminate many of their concerns.

You see, to an older combat veteran, there is NOTHING that the younger man can say or relate that will shock the older veterans. Nothing. There is nothing the younger combat veteran experienced in combat that will disgust or offend the older veteran.

It is this bond of understanding among warriors that will enable the younger man to share his fears, nightmares, doubts, and possibly guilty thoughts. How often have we heard combat veterans say, "You had to be there."

While in combat, many things occur quickly, threatening at times to overwhelm the senses and the very ability to reason. Imagine for a moment that the mind is like an open storage building. During combat, everything unholy is being furiously tossed in at random, thrown in with reckless abandon, some boxed, some not; everything out of place, out of order, and soon this room withing - there is a jumble of chaos. You can't effectively navigate. You can't quite sort things out.

Where the brief isolation and discussion with older combat veterans can help is to gently help get things placed in perspective, positioned in relative order, and thus make the garbage forcibly thrown in more acceptable, more carefully spaced, and thus more effective to deal with.

The nightmares will never go away completely, but with good, understanding help, the traumatic events can be diminished significantly when properly placed in order; hopefully as time goes on, toward the back of the storgage.

But one must have a break between combat action and return to their loved ones. Time to think. Time to reflect. Time to adjust.

"All of you who have killed anyone or touched anyone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh day you must purify yourselves and your captives." Numbers 31:19 NIV

Good advice then, good advice now.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 03:42 PM

Originally posted by Reddupo
Humans are not meant to murder. It's like taking a sports car offroad. The soldier, the car, will break down. We should return to our rightful places in the grand cycle of nature.

[edit on 1-12-2008 by Reddupo]

Humans were not "meant" for anything specifically other than to be yet another vehicle for the perpetuation of the genes.

This type of "Humans were not meant for..." cracks me up.

If you raise a child to be a killer, he won't have any issues with it as an adult. However, if you take someone from a society based on rules and respecting your fellowman, and put him in a warzone, than the conflict which occurs between what he was taught and what he is living causes huge psychic issues which often lead to behavior such as suicide.

"Humans were not meant to..." Puhlease.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 04:25 PM

Originally posted by HunkaHunka
Humans were not "meant" for anything specifically other than to be yet another vehicle for the perpetuation of the genes.

This type of "Humans were not meant for..." cracks me up.

Yes, reproduction, self defense, hunt. Very basic animal instincts that we are meant to do. You could argue things like search for knowledge, .etc but that's superfluous to this conversation. Within in these innate behaviors, you do not find anything that you find in war.

If you raise a child to be a killer, he won't have any issues with it as an adult.

What have you seen, experienced, read, heard of, .etc to say this with such certainty?

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 04:58 PM
reply to post by jd140

In a time of war it is possible to face the death penalty, however it is very unlikely that a soldier would be put to death.

But if soldiers started to desert en-mass then those in power would have to implement the law to full effect in an attempt to get the ranks back into some kind of order.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 08:41 PM
reply to post by jakyll

That's true. Even in the early days of our fight for independence, our own George Washington was forced to execute some soldiers to prevent further mutiny. It broke his heart, but to make it stick, some of the co-mutineers were the ones chosen for the firing squad.

This battlefield stress is very fixable. Quit trying to make the war zone feel like home. It doesn't work.

When combat operations are concluded, rather than rush the troops home, they should be taken somewhere for a week or two to wind down. To pull back from the precipice. To rediscover and remake those connections that make them human again.

There is a transition period to go from civilian to warrior, and likewise, there is a transition period to go from violent reaction to a peaceful acceptance.

I concluded a successful ambush, and within 30 hours was home in the US. I was still wounded, but had concealed my wounds to get home a bit quicker.
Jesus, was that a mistake.

My youngest brother came into my room to wake me up that first morning home like he used to do, and I literally, almost killed him.

Seven days of rest. Seven days to return from a valid paranoia. Seven days to get your bearings. Seven days of no structured responsibilities.

Seven days.

And you can clear up what otherwise will take decades to correct, left to your own devices.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 09:56 PM
Apparently, the suicide rate has been rising in general:

Google and find more. There are bunches out there.
For those that don't feel like reading all these articles, they basically all say the same thing: Suicide rates are rising in almost all segments of society.
The point is that suicide rates are going up across the spectrum of society. Soldiers are possibly just reflecting this general trend. All the information that I have found shows that the suicide rate among U.S. soldiers is still lower than that of the general populace. In that sense, it is not a crisis. The rate is possibly just rising in a natural ratio that it would achieve when compared to the general populace.
The OP may be on to something here, but I don't think it's the number of suicides in the armed forces that needs looked at specifically. It is the issue of why suicides in general are rising.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 10:05 PM
If you want to know why soldiers are commiting suicide in record numbers, the answer was already posted by me in a thread that did not receive ONE reply.

I wrote out my experience with a life-long friend of mine who had returned from active duty in Afghanistan, hes a member of the Canadian, Princess Patricia's armed forces.

Heres what I wrote:

A good friend of mine since childhood suddenly joined the military after my brother died a few years ago. He never told me anything about it until he was already being posted to another province for training.

He was the youngest person (according to him) to be invited to special forces training, he did not qualify but years of training had now gotten him into the killing mind set. He was now a trained killer and it was all he wanted to do.

He came home on leave about 6 months ago, he was pissed off cause they had kept telling him he was gonna be deployed to afghanistan then they would always cancel on him. I tried everything I could to make him quit the military, he arguement was "im dumb, and its the only thing im truly GOOD at, besides I need the money" I offered him a job, guaranteeing him he would make at very minimum, as much as he made in the military but most likely more. No budge. So hes on leave and the night before his birthday he gets a phone call, and the next day (his birthday) hes being deployed and his leave is being cut short by 3 weeks.

He goes on a 4 month tour of afghanistan and when he returns home I see him. He doesn't seem to be the same, rather quiet, getting upset about seemily pointless things. So I pull him aside one night and ask, hey man, whats the deal whats wrong with you these days?

Thats when he started to cry, and for the record I've known him for almost 20 years, I think 17 and never once have I seen this guy cry even when we found out my brother was dead he stood strong while I cried.

I asked, Ryan what is wrong??? He says that about a week after he got to afghanistan he was guarding some sort of check point and a guy in a car approached. They commanded the car to stop, and it did, but then without warning it started speeding up, as it got to a certain point the group of guys guarding the check point including my friend were ordered to open fire.

The car rolled to a stop, and when it did they approached to find that they had killed the gentleman who was driving, but also 3 kids in the back seat.

My friend isn't sure if it was even his bullet that took one of these kids lives but he was sitting there infront of me telling me the story in tears, saying he now has nightmares about it all the time, reliving the day over and over. Hes depressed, this military leave hes on now, hes been drinking (to points of blackout) at least 5 of 7 days of the week.

Again, I offer him a job tell him to leave the military, guarantee him a good life back in Canada where he can support his mom and find a girl to settle down with...

His response this time, "im dumb, and its the only thing im truly GOOD at, besides I need the money"..

Don't let anyone you care about join the military people, whatever it takes to make them stop and not join DO it. These people think they are doing the right thing, they think that war will be 'sweet' its not until they get there and realize that war is horrific that true reality sets in.

posted on Dec, 2 2008 @ 11:30 PM
reply to post by king9072

To suggest that someone not join the military because bad things happen is complete BS.

Yeah. Bad things happen in war. They happen here at home, and if you don't believe it, just pick up a newspaper.

To the contrary, often a man can do more living in thirty minutes of combat than most people do their entire lives.

The car, the kids, the event. Bad luck. It happens. Just the other day a car ran off an overpass, slammed into a wall, burst into flames, and killed the three children in the car. No shooting involved.

Bad things happen. In combat, slow is dead, so fast is good. Reaction time is nil. So to be most successful, once the party opens, a controlled, fast rage needs to follow. And bad things will happen. In war, in peace, and you won't avoid bad things until you take your last breath.

Yeah. The nightmares continue, but they diminish in frequency as time goes on. And each time, they are as real as it was the moment it happened.

He needs to know that this was likely to happen in any circumstance. There is such a thing as FATE. I've seen guys do every stupid thing in the book, and should have died a hundred times. But it wasn't their time.

I've seen mortar rounds land right next to a guy, and it was a dud. A shot through the helmet, and it runs around inside without cracking his squash. An RPG hit a guy in the back, cracking ribs and throwing his back out, but it didn't go off.

By the same token, a man in the most protected place on the battlefield - and a ricochet finds him.

Tell your friend. Things happen, and he doesn't have half the control that he believes he does. That's not exactly comforting either, but it's just the way it really is.

I feel for him. But he needs to open up to some older vets. It's not easy, but it needs to be done. At least he didn't accidentally smother his buddy trying to keep the gurgling down while enemy were walking all around.

Bad things happen, and we can't stop them. Even when we do everything right.

posted on Dec, 3 2008 @ 10:41 AM

Originally posted by Reddupo

Originally posted by HunkaHunka
Humans were not "meant" for anything specifically other than to be yet another vehicle for the perpetuation of the genes.

This type of "Humans were not meant for..." cracks me up.

Yes, reproduction, self defense, hunt. Very basic animal instincts that we are meant to do. You could argue things like search for knowledge, .etc but that's superfluous to this conversation. Within in these innate behaviors, you do not find anything that you find in war.

If you raise a child to be a killer, he won't have any issues with it as an adult.

What have you seen, experienced, read, heard of, .etc to say this with such certainty?

One word... Vikings.

posted on Dec, 3 2008 @ 10:44 AM
I wonder if oppressors commit suicide more than the oppressed? this may have something to do with it.
To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is cruelty.
Maximilien Robespierre

[edit on 3-12-2008 by earthman4]

posted on Dec, 3 2008 @ 11:44 AM

People commit suicide when their problems exceed their coping mechanisms.

And studies are showing that some poeple can handle trauma better then others because they have the chemical compisition to handle stress.
They are able to tell by blood tests who can handle stressful situations and who can't.

People do have the capability to kill. But it is the circumstances that make it trauma or not. If someone threatened your family in your home with a gun, you are probably going to feeel bad if you kill the intruder, but not devastated. But if you have to kill an unarmed civilian walking up to your car just because, that is going to do things to you.

And to see children either used or inadvertantly killed is just devastating.

IN war you see families torn apart. Widows grieving. Mothers losing their entire brood. That is something no one should see. These are un natural.

In cave man days, war only lasted as long as it had too. You had a battle, Either you got the territory you wanted or you didn't. They didn't last for 10 years with constant and un neccessary death.

As for the PP talking about medications. I have dealt with a lot of mental illness in my life. Induced or natural. It is not an easy thing to deal with. It is never handled by one medication. EAch person is different. If one doesn't work another needs to be tried. Several may need to be tried. And it needs to be couples with constant counseling and stress relieving techniques.

I highly doubt that these kind of services are being provided by the government. There are many local programs that will do it for sliding fee scale. And it won't hurt to contact your local health department.

It sucks you are sent to serve your country and left for nothing afterwards.
At the very least, it should mean that medically you should have the best.

But since our government can't even do that, you have to take matters into your own hands instead of saying: they won't help me so I won't help me. it is a mind job that the institution you represent calls on you to kill people, and then not take care of you and dismiss you when they are done with you. While you are away they don't take care of your family. But like those who work on dangerous fishing boats or mines, you have to see it for what it is, it is just jobs. heartbreaking jobs.
And many people sign up to be in the service without ever considering that there could be a war started and they will be called into it. And they are not mentally capable of handling it.

People need to know their resources and don't tend to look for them. There are wonderful hotlines out there. If anyone reads postsecret they know that the hotlines have saved quite a few people.

There are other sources then what the government has provided for you.
People need coping mechanisms. They need an outlet. They need a program to adjust back to civilian life.

If I had the money, just by what I am reading here, I would start a program that did those very things. A halfway house of sorts.

Its heartbreaking that our countries finest are treated this way. But it is also nothing new.
This is not a new revelation. Like the PP mentioned. The vets of other wars go through the same thing.

And the screwed up priorities is rampant throughout our society. We pay police officers 30k while baseball players get 100 million. Absolutely ridiculous. pop stars should not get millions for singing and dancing.Instead of giving our money to them, we should give it those who need and deserve it the most.

posted on Dec, 3 2008 @ 11:47 AM

Originally posted by nixie_nox

People commit suicide when their problems exceed their coping mechanisms.

Thank you... see it has nothing to do with "people were not meant to kill others" hypohtesis, it has to do with the fact that these people who went to war were raised in a system where their coping mechanisms were not centered around killing.

But now they are, and they are living back in society... they can't deal anymore so they off themselves

posted on Dec, 9 2008 @ 12:52 PM
reply to post by king9072

The reason no one replied to your post is because you were honest. You must learn to hide the truth or be labled a liberal or a nut.

posted on Dec, 9 2008 @ 03:03 PM
blame the medication,it seems to have the effect of making merely troubled people suicidal.......seratonin uptake inhibitors actually supress serretonin,which is a neurotransimtter that causes feeling of wellbeing and happyness.

why do you want to supress serratonin in unhappy people!?,its that obvious what thier doing and what they control!

top topics

<< 1   >>

log in