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November 19, 2007


Cecil Turner

I looked at the USMC suicide rate a while back, and came to the same conclusion. The HQMC suicide prevention folks put out a good powerpoint update in August [USMC Suicide Update 2007.ppt--sorry, no link] which had similar findings:

The Marine Corps remains well below the annual civilian suicide rate (19.9) when adjusted for the demographics of the Marine Corps (based on gender, age and race).
Early anecdotal evidence suggests that the stressors most associated with death by suicide among Marines appear to be similar for both Marines who had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and those who had not deployed. Namely, these are problems in romantic relationships, physical health, work related issues such as poor performance and job dissatisfaction, and pending legal or administrative action.
That's not to say that the additional stressors of combat don't have some impact on the overall picture, but sensationalism like the CBS piece appears to be wishful thinking based on a particularly unsavory brand of politics, rather than any actual concern for troops' welfare.


I flew from WPAFB to BWI with an Air Force doctor in the past year. I remarked to him the great success rate military doctors were having with injured troops. He did point out that the mental aspects still lagged the physical ones. But it was the issue of dealing with the injuries - no talk of sucide at all.


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