US Veterans Suffering From Head Trauma May Become Violent and Dangerous, Says DoD
By Susanne Posel
August 21, 2012
US Army statistics show that the suicide rate among military personnel is rising exponentially. Last July, an estimated 38 suicides were “confirmed or suspected” by soldiers making that month the deadliest time in Army history.
Active duty suicides have climbed up to 22% with 116 deaths so far in 2012. Veterans are in most danger of committing suicide. While the Army has traditionally viewed younger soldiers as “at risk” for suicide, since the majority of deaths are occurring with veteran and older soldiers, that assumption is shifting.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, US Army vice chief of staff, said: “Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army. And, it’s an enemy that’s killing not just soldiers, but tens of thousands of Americans every year. That said, I do believe suicide is preventable.
To combat it effectively will require sophisticated solutions aimed at helping individuals to build resiliency and strengthen their life coping skills. As we prepare for Suicide Prevention Month in September we also recognize that we must continue to address the stigma associated with behavioral health.
Ultimately, we want the mindset across our force and society at large to be that behavioral health is a routine part of what we do and who we are as we strive to maintain our own physical and mental wellness.”
Leon Panetta, US Defense Secretary testified before Congress about solider suicides, saying “that this is an epidemic . . . something’s wrong.”