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Thread: 18 U.S. Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day

  1. #16
    Senior Member Breakfast in Vegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KurtyKat View Post
    Very sad!

    Makes me think about earlier wars - did that many think about suicide or commit it after WW2???? I am not aware of such high rates among "our" WW2-veterans in Germany after WW2. Would be an interesting subject to investigate.
    I saw some studies a while back, regrettably I dont have links and such. In any case, things like suicide were stigmatized and brushed under the carpet. I doubt that there are really any reliable statistics, particularly in the chaos directly after WWII.

    In the same article they wrote about ex-soldiers killing people as well, including an incident when a soldier killed a bunch of schoolchildren in Germany in the late 40s.

    Personally it seems logical that such things happened, but seems that the topic was never thoroughly investigated.

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    Μολὼν λαβέ Hollis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breakfast in Vegas View Post
    I saw some studies a while back, regrettably I dont have links and such. In any case, things like suicide were stigmatized and brushed under the carpet. I doubt that there are really any reliable statistics, particularly in the chaos directly after WWII.

    In the same article they wrote about ex-soldiers killing people as well, including an incident when a soldier killed a bunch of schoolchildren in Germany in the late 40s.

    Personally it seems logical that such things happened, but seems that the topic was never thoroughly investigated.
    It is also not a black and white issue. Single vehicular accidents are a example, is it suicide or not. The other thing, if a person has life insurance, suicide is a no go for payments to the beneficiary.

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    [SIZE=4][SIZE=3][*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]I attempted to track down the source of this statistic... which implies that 6,500 US veterans commit suicide each year, and that almost 20 percent of the suicides in America each year are by US veterans (a ridiculous number by inspection). To put that in perspective, in 10 years you would have more veteran suicides than US soldiers killed in 10 years of war in Vietnam. (All of us know many names of people who were KIA in Vietnam. Do any of us know a veteran who committed suicide? Wouldn't you think such a blood-letting would be a little obvious if it was actually going on?)

    [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][SIZE=5][*******#ff0000][FONT=Times New Roman]This widely publicized statistic is HIGHLY suspect.[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/SIZE][*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3] The reporting is circular, and apparently originated with a CBS “report.” Of interest is the comment from the Professor who analyzed the data for CBS that “CBS asked him to destroy the data once his analysis was completed;” and that “the data was not peer reviewed.”[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]Also of interest was the comment about the use of the suspect statistic by CBS in their report about Iraq veterans, to wit: …
    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]"If you're interested in whether there's an epidemic related to the war, you would also want to see what the rates were before the war," Katz said. "CBS never addressed that. I have concerns about the CBS report."
    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]“…Also testifying today was Stephen Rathbun, an associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Georgia, who analyzed the data used in the CBS report….
    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]Rathbun told the committee he was confident of the results of his analysis, though he also said that CBS asked him to destroy the data once his analysis was completed, and that the work was not peer reviewed.”
    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    [SIZE=3][*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]http://prevention.mt.gov/suicideprevention/2008USSuicideData.pdf[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]Average of 1 person every 14.6 minutes killed themselves[/FONT][/COLOR]
    Last edited by Jacknola; 05-01-2012 at 04:09 PM.

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    Senior Member tea drinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis View Post
    It is also not a black and white issue. Single vehicular accidents are a example, is it suicide or not. The other thing, if a person has life insurance, suicide is a no go for payments to the beneficiary.
    Over here the number of single vehicle accidents with a dead male driver rose sharply after the downturn. Coroners are somewhat reluctant to call it for the very reasons you mentioned, also because of stigma.

  5. #20
    Senior Member Breakfast in Vegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis View Post
    It is also not a black and white issue. Single vehicular accidents are a example, is it suicide or not. The other thing, if a person has life insurance, suicide is a no go for payments to the beneficiary.
    True that. War and stress affect people in different ways and I think the loneliness of entering civilian life, especially if unsuccessfully, with no peer group to fall upon could have a negative effect on many.

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    Senior Member DS73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacknola View Post
    [SIZE=4][SIZE=3][*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]I attempted to track down the source of this statistic... which implies that 6,500 US veterans commit suicide each year, and that almost 20 percent of the suicides in America each year are by US veterans (a ridiculous number by inspection). To put that in perspective, in 10 years you would have more veteran suicides than US soldiers killed in 10 years of war in Vietnam. (All of us know many names of people who were KIA in Vietnam. Do any of us know a veteran who committed suicide? Wouldn't you think such a blood-letting would be a little obvious if it was actually going on?)

    [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][SIZE=5][*******#ff0000][FONT=Times New Roman]This widely publicized statistic is HIGHLY suspect.[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/SIZE][*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman][SIZE=3] The reporting is circular, and apparently originated with a CBS “report.” Of interest is the comment from the Professor who analyzed the data for CBS that “CBS asked him to destroy the data once his analysis was completed;” and that “the data was not peer reviewed.”[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]Also of interest was the comment about the use of the suspect statistic by CBS in their report about Iraq veterans, to wit: …
    [/FONT][/COLOR]
    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]"If you're interested in whether there's an epidemic related to the war, you would also want to see what the rates were before the war," Katz said. "CBS never addressed that. I have concerns about the CBS report."
    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]“…Also testifying today was Stephen Rathbun, an associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Georgia, who analyzed the data used in the CBS report….
    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    [*******#333333][FONT=Georgia]Rathbun told the committee he was confident of the results of his analysis, though he also said that CBS asked him to destroy the data once his analysis was completed, and that the work was not peer reviewed.”
    [/FONT][/COLOR]

    [SIZE=3][*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]http://prevention.mt.gov/suicideprevention/2008USSuicideData.pdf[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]

    [*******#000000][FONT=Times New Roman]Average of 1 person every 14.6 minutes killed themselves[/FONT][/COLOR]
    Aaaeeh. No.

    This "18 per day or every 80 minutes" number comes from Veterans Health Administration.
    You can see it for example here: http://www.va.gov/oig/CAP/VAOIG-11-01380-128.pdf page4.
    I believe this number (initially 5000 per year) was introduced already in 2007. If to dig a bit, it's possible to pull out the name of this "researcher" who "calculated" it.

    This number is an estimation based on data originated from NVDRS database, which covers now 19 states (then 17- bureaucratically handicapped California). This dude had just extracted the number (1800 of suicides by active duty and ex militaries in these 16 states) and than extrapolated suicide rates to the national scale.
    (anyone is free to play with this nicely done database. It's here: http://wisqars.cdc.gov:8080/nvdrs/nvdrsDisplay.jsp).
    The states are: Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
    Apparently the "researcher" had assumed that veterans (and active duty militaries mind you) are equally distributed along american states (classical fu of many "scientists" nowadays). Is it really so? Luckily we have a map which can nicely illustrate boring reality:
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2...ap.html?src=tp
    (look for veteran benefits option).
    I would expect that the number is significantly less, since it's known that the suicides rates for old veterans are actually lower than for respective non military related groups. Active militaries also tend to kill themselves less than civilians of corresponding age, ***, ethnicity group.
    The risk group are fresh veterans of OEF/OIF campaigns.
    Many medical studies (done by VHA too) give quite similar numbers about suicides of fresh veterans first 5 years of retirement (i.e. OEF/OIF in simple words). This is 40 suicides per year per 100000 veterans. It's a lot and it's around 1.7-2 times more than suicides rates for their civilian peers.

    I have a question to veterans of OEF/OIF. There was a proposal to stop immediate retirement after deployments and to keep soldiers at least 3 months in the same unit already in USA first 3 months on return home.I am curious to hear opinions about such proposal.

    Btw. If I recall correctly, scientifically based advice, actually used in some countries, is to keep militaries active first 6 months on return to home country. To give time to wind down and become boring sleepy peace time army dudes we all see around. (This time obviously doesn't really help to unwind per se, but people do tend to avoid killing themselves afterwords).

    OT and small rant:
    Frankly from my European corner it looks that white (ex)protestant part of american society has strange ease killing themselves, and rather high american suicide rate is a cultural phenomenon having nothing to do with incomes, current political or personal troubles or medical situation. The number (13 per 100000) stays pretty much the same already like well 50 years.

  7. #22
    Μολὼν λαβέ Hollis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DS73 View Post
    Aaaeeh. No.

    This "18 per day or every 80 minutes" number comes from Veterans Health Administration.
    18 X 365 is 6570. So Jacknola comment that in ten years you have 65,700 fatalities. Not sure where the 80 minutes came into play. My understanding is similar to as you posted, that suicide of vets are less than their civilian peer group. That still says there is lot to be done for the suicides as a whole. OR....... maybe that is the nature of humans. I don't know.

    There have been changes after the Viet-Nam war, the DEROS added to the problem. People would go from combat to home in less that 7 days. There are a number of articles on this.

  8. #23
    Senior Member DS73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis View Post
    18 X 365 is 6570. So Jacknola comment that in ten years you have 65,700 fatalities. Not sure where the 80 minutes came into play. My understanding is similar to as you posted, that suicide of vets are less than their civilian peer group. That still says there is lot to be done for the suicides as a whole. OR....... maybe that is the nature of humans. I don't know.
    every 80 minutes is 18 people per day. it's just another way to say it.
    The number is plain wrong, if to follow veteran+military census than national estimate should go close to 6000 (a bit less or more, military census is not that precise ), but as I've said, one should look where OEF/OIF veterans live.
    There have been changes after the Viet-Nam war, the DEROS added to the problem. People would go from combat to home in less that 7 days. There are a number of articles on this.
    So the question is: what veterans think? May be such practices should stop, at least for not married soldiers? I know that there was already attempt to move through, but then there was Rumsfeld on the way. He is not there anymore. It's way too late, but still public generated outcry can move some hills around.

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