Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Army admits deployment linked to elevated risk of suicide

This is not just hump day it is vindication day for me and my grassroots colleagues. We were right all along and this study proves it. We are out there everyday talking to veterans and their families because we are veterans and family members! We saw the connection between combat and suicides years before many of the new veterans were born. None of this is new to us.

The military has been able to claim whatever they want up until now with reporters just repeating their claims with absolutely no fact checking. Each one of us reads what they claim, jump on the emails and make phone calls discussing the stupidity of assumptions reported as fact right after we have dealt with talking a veteran off the ledge or comforting a family when it is too late to help and they are blaming themselves for not doing enough.

Now with this report families can finally know the truth is coming out and maybe, just maybe, the Army is ready to start talking facts and restore hope they will finally get it right on helping our soldiers heal.
Army STARRS study busting myths on suicide
US Army
By Gary Sheftick
September 16, 2013

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 9, 2013) -- Although researchers are just beginning to analyze data collected from more than 110,000 Soldiers, they have already busted some myths and discovered patterns related to suicide.

One finding confirms an elevated risk of suicide associated with a Soldier's first deployment.

Multiple deployments don't seem to raise the risk, however. That might be because Soldiers make choices after their first deployment or develop coping mechanisms, according to researchers involved in the Army's "Study To Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers," or Army STARRS.

The five-year study was undertaken in 2009, in response to the rising rate of military suicides. It's the largest study ever attempted on mental health risk and resilience among service members, and it involves an expansive partnership between the Army, the National Institute of Mental Health and several universities.

The coalition of researchers found a statistically significant rise in suicides following initial deployments. This finding contrasts sharply with a study featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Aug. 7 edition. Led by personnel at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, that study found no association between deployments and increased suicide risk.

That's just not the case for the Army, as depicted by Army STARRS data, said Dr. Michael Schoenbaum, collaborating scientist at NIMH.

"Soldiers who have deployed at least once do have an elevated suicide rate compared with Soldiers who never deployed," Schoenbaum said.

The AMA Journal article was based on analysis of data from the DOD Millennium Cohort Study that sampled all service members, Schoenbaum said, surmising at least half of the participants were Sailors and Airmen. In contrast, Army STARRS examines only Soldiers.

"There are a lot of reasons to expect that the experience during deployment of Air Force and Navy personnel is really substantially different from Army and Marine [personnel]," Schoenbaum said.


Troops in combat jobs have a higher propensity to commit suicide, the Army study found, and that may help explain some differences in conclusions.

"We've identified some MOS (military occupational specialty) categories that are associated with elevated suicide risk," Schoenbaum said. Those military occupational specialties include artillery and infantry.

Willingness to take risks might be a factor in Soldiers choosing a combat MOS, proposed Dr. James Churchill, NIMH program officer.

"They might be risk-takers, willing to step out into the street and lead their platoon," Churchill said, adding that it could help them excel at their jobs. "But at the same time, it might put them at risk for other types of things as well."

These Soldiers have an elevated risk for both fatal accidents and suicides.
"We've already found that many of the same factors that predict risk for suicide also predict risk for accident death," Schoenbaum said.

"And you might think that accidents are accidents -- that these are random events. But we're not actually finding that," he said.
read more here
Maybe now you understand that Suicides After War and the program the DOD has been pushing of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness has not worked! This was a five year study and CSF has been going on for longer.