The following information was compiled by the folks at Onlinemilitaryeducation.org. Ms Rebecca Louis is the content manager for the site. Her and her staff members are continuously researching information about different career fields in the military services and about military life. Her staff recently published an info-graphic titled “The Military Suicide Epidemic”. Here is the link to the Online Military Education article in its entirety dated May 23, 2013: http://www.onlinemilitaryeducation.org/posts/military-suicide/.
What follows are some shocking statistics pertaining to military related suicides when compared to the general populous. In 2012 there were 349 service members that committed suicide, which equates to about one a day. The suicide count can be broken down even further: Army – 182; Navy 60; Air Force 59 and Marines 48 with 68% of those service members under the age of 30. A further comparison shows that the suicide rate for veterans alone (not counting active duty military and the Reserve) is 3 times higher than the U.S. population. Now compare that to 295 combat related deaths during the same timeframe. Shocking!
The article suggests that there are 3 protective factors that deter someone from taking their own life:
- Belonging – cohesion and camaraderie in the military introduces intense feelings of belonging. In contrast, time away from the unit means no daily support and greater feelings of not belonging in civilian life.
- Usefulness – Interactions, tasks and responsibilities in the military foster a real sense of usefulness in each member. In contrast, when introduced back into civilian jobs or worse, unemployment, soldiers can feel useless.
- Aversion to Pain and Death – Exposure to training, violence, aggression, and death increase tolerance for pain and dull the fear of death; even for those who have not deployed, hence
the phrase: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
While in the military, but even more so after leaving the military these protective factors begin to erode. However, there are numerous military service organizations around the country many staffed by volunteers that are addressing these issues daily and who need our financial support, if not our time and shared concern in tackling this very serious problem.
Also, the following “Hot Lines” are available for active duty and veterans:
- Military Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
- Send Texts to 838255 or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net to chat
- Support for deaf/hard of hearing:TTY:1800-799-4889
- For counseling: www.militaryonesource.mil
To our service members serving around the world and to our veteran population which numbers over 22 million…Thank you for your service!
Please visit the Armed Services Mutual Benefit Association (ASMBA) STAR Foundation website: www.asmbastar.com to learn more about what the ASMBA STAR Foundation is doing in support of “grass root” military service charities serving wounded warriors, veterans and their families; as
well as our active military, the Guard and Reserve and the military community worldwide.