2.05.2008

war is a force that drives us to despair

And in related news, in 2007, an average of five US troops attempted suicide each day.

According to the Army's own accounting, there were 2,100 attempted suicides by soldiers, compared with 350 in 2002, the year before the invasion of Iraq.

Please note that the "low" figure represents nearly one suicide attempt every single day.

7 comments:

Nick Barrowman said...

The figures seem dramatic, but it would be useful to compare with suicide rates in a comparable population (age, sex, social class).

L-girl said...

I think the figure is dramatic, no matter what the rates in the general population.

The problem with the comparison by age and sex (I doubt figures are kept by income level, which is what I assume you mean by social class?), is that these are suicide attempts, not necessarily suicides. Suicide attempts wouldn't show up statistically in most populations. If there were statistics, they would be very unreliable.

James said...

The 2100/year figure is dramatic simply because it represents a 6x increase over the pre-war value, but it's impossible to say the pre-war rate is actually unusual without knowing the comparable figures for the population at large. According to the article, the successful suicide rate in the military is lower than among civilians, even after the increase, but there's no way to match suicide rates to attempt rates in any of the three areas.

L-girl said...

The 2100/year figure is dramatic simply because it represents a 6x increase over the pre-war value, but it's impossible to say the pre-war rate is actually unusual without knowing the comparable figures for the population at large.

Right. I understand that. I don't think that makes the figure any less dramatic, or any less sad.

redsock said...

Jon Soltz at Think Progress on the suicides and PTSD.

redsock said...

I thought that TP piece was current, but it is from August 2007. Still relevant, I think.

L-girl said...

Allan, thanks for the link. That story says the suicide rate among vets is the highest its been in 26 years. I believe I posted that when it was announced, too.