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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Modern Wars & Warfare > Military Medicine

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Military Medicine Discuss aspects of this specialist field not covered in other forums.

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  #1  
Old 06 May 13, 12:52
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Suicide & the Military, Current Opinion

Opened my current issue of the Marine Corps Gazette http://www.mca-marines.org/gazette?g...Fck-MgodE3YATg

yesterday and found the following article that directly challenges the common assumption about suicide in the military. USMC Captain Daniel Grazier slams the current approach to suicide prevention within the military. His argument that it is not working is clear, and he sets out several interlated reasons why. He also make a somewhat seperate argument revolving around some statisitics that grabbed my attention.

Quote:
"In 2010, the most recent year for which complete statistics are known, 295 servicemembers committed suicide, of which 129 had deployed to a combat zone. Of that 129, only 30 had actual direct combat experience, and contrary to conventional wisdom, only 14 of those cases were known to have post-traumatic stress disorder, which accounts for less than 5 percent of total cases. by contrast, 140 cases involved a know failure in a spousal or intimate relationship within 1 month of the suicide."

Grazier cites as his source: '2. The National Center for Telehealth & Technology, "Department of Defense Suicide Event Report: Calendar Year 2010 Annual Report" Washington DC, 20 September 2011.'

My primary question at this point is if the report Grazier cites is believed to be accurate, and/or if it is misinterpreted by Grazier.

My own thoughts on this are founded mostly in personal experience with veterans both during and after active service & may be coloring my judgement of Graziers arguments. Any other informed opinions are strongly solicited here.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 06 May 13, 12:57
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I worked at lot of suicides when I was active duty (I was an MP, later 95D criminal investigator). This was in the early 80s.

Back then, they generally fell into two broad catagories: 1) affairs of the heart;

2) inner problems that IMO should have been weeded out in recruitment. These were individuals who entered the military already in a high risk catagory, and in many cases were viewing the military as a force that would change or nuetralize their problems.

Doesn't look like anything has changed.
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Old 06 May 13, 13:37
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I'm not at all sure or even all that confident of cause and effect, but here's what I noticed among friends, fellow returning vets (those that ETS'ed), those that stayed-in awhile like myself, and reflecting and comparing of how I've noticed things from returning servicemen from Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than a few Dear John scenarios and some Jody experiences once home. I have harsh thoughts on what should be done to that facilitate this, but that's neither here, there, or applicable at the moment.

War, with both those doing the grunt work as well as those not, has a way of creating bonds that aren't easily, if ever, replicated in civilian-life (I sure as hell haven't experienced it again since), and learning and coming to grips with that reality is more worse on some than others, obviously. Psychologically, it can be a be bummer one cannot overcome or do so easily.

The Change. This one is hard for me to explain. Essentially, you come home and expect changes. The only thing that's changed is you. You had best have a strong peer group, or something like it, to get past this mfker. Some can't.
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Old 06 May 13, 15:53
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I hate the current suicide prevention brief. Over and over and over. I'm surprised more assaults aren't happening on officers and NCOs that think we need it every freaking drill. I think USAWTFM and ASMDSS are more effective methods.
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Old 06 May 13, 20:07
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I never had to deal directly with suicide during my six years of active service, nor in the reserves. My non scientific memory strongly suggests that about half the 'personal' problems I had to deal with among my peers or subordinates, and seniors, involved a marriage or sexual relationships breaking up. In the mid 1970s during my first round of active service there were still quite a few combat veterans around. It seemed at time like all of them had problems, but in retrospect that was not very accurate. Most of the real problems, on the surface at least, had to do with alcohol or drugs. Perhaps those were symptomatic of deeper problems, but that is getting deep into the woods.
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Old 06 May 13, 20:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naffenea View Post
I hate the current suicide prevention brief. Over and over and over. I'm surprised more assaults aren't happening on officers and NCOs that think we need it every freaking drill. I think USAWTFM and ASMDSS are more effective methods.
Captain Grazier had some nasty things to say about the Suicide Brief. Aside from labeling it a colossal waste of time he sees it as "validating" the suicides belief that his death will bring attention to him & his problem. While this has no effect on the suicide it has the negative effect of transfering that validation to other potential suicides, or others who are inclined to act out on their problems in negative or dysfunctional ways.
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Old 06 May 13, 21:38
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I think it all boils done to a sense of failure, relationship, financial, or whatever the reason is for the suicide. While you are in the service there is also the constant knowledge usually suppressed that death is the an acceptable option, usually preferred for the enemy (our problems).

If my chute don't open round
I'll be the first one to hit the ground........

When I die, bury me deep
2 M-16s beneath my feet...........

Momma momma don't you cry
the Infantry was meant to die.......

Telegram for Mrs Nichols
Boom boom boom; your son is dead
Shot in the head
and he ain't comin home
don't be upset
you'll get the check.......

Death is always one day away, one deployment, one battle....it is a mindset that is instilled from the very first day.
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Old 06 May 13, 21:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMS, Jr. View Post
I'm not at all sure or even all that confident of cause and effect, but here's what I noticed among friends, fellow returning vets (those that ETS'ed), those that stayed-in awhile like myself, and reflecting and comparing of how I've noticed things from returning servicemen from Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than a few Dear John scenarios and some Jody experiences once home. I have harsh thoughts on what should be done to that facilitate this, but that's neither here, there, or applicable at the moment.

War, with both those doing the grunt work as well as those not, has a way of creating bonds that aren't easily, if ever, replicated in civilian-life (I sure as hell haven't experienced it again since), and learning and coming to grips with that reality is more worse on some than others, obviously. Psychologically, it can be a be bummer one cannot overcome or do so easily.

The Change. This one is hard for me to explain. Essentially, you come home and expect changes. The only thing that's changed is you. You had best have a strong peer group, or something like it, to get past this mfker. Some can't.
Hi HMS,your contribution bought back a few memories from a war a few back now. I think at that time most of the mental problems were suffered by home based men such as drill sergeants etc: with a few home based officers thrown in as well. I well remember one particular Major Dean that even had a song composed to him to the tune of 'Nellie Dean'.Not a bit complimentary,the final line going like this,'and the things they say of you,I'm afraid that they are true,your a bastard through and through Major Dean'!! Seriously though,once on active service generally speaking, no problems like that,it was accepted that everyone at some time needed each other which was the basis of mateship.When returning home,things were different as you say, I remember hearing my mother say to someone "Hasn't he changed!" when referring to me.Who wouldn't change? We were 18 year old boys that returned as men! I never knew anyone that was a suicide case though despite the horrors of it all. lcm1
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