Austin American Statesman
October 1, 2012
The stresses that can contribute to suicide — relationship problems, legal problems, mental illness, depression — are the same for military personnel and veterans as for the rest of the population, experts say.
But the former have higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, both of which increase the chance of self-harm, said Peter Gutierrez, co-director of the Military Suicide Research Consortium in Denver, a joint effort by the U.S. military and research scientists to understand and prevent suicidal behavior. Having two or more such conditions that affect mental health — known as co-morbidity — is also known to increase the risk.
According to Department of Veterans Affairs data, the likelihood of suicide among Afghanistan and Iraq veterans was greatest during the first two years after leaving active duty; it declined by half after four to six years had passed. Although those veterans faced a “significantly higher” risk than the general population, it’s unclear how they stack up against veterans of other wars, such as Vietnam.
Infowars reporter Dan Bidondi covered the skyrocketing army suicide rate in this report last month: