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Essay on Military Suicides

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Among American civilians, whites have historically and significantly led the way in the rates of suicides. Although leveling off after the 1990’s, the rate of white suicides has still been almost twice as much as minority groups. It has also been shown that males commit suicide significantly more than females.

Figure 1 Figure 2
As the rate of suicides increases in our nation, it has risen consistently with white males leading the way, as shown in figures 1 and 2. There are many theories behind what is driving this, however there are no hard facts behind any of these theories and there is still no concrete reason why white males are more prone to commit suicide.
A very important group within the American population has been increasing rapidly as well in suicides. The rate of suicides in the U.S. military is so high now, that in 2012, more service members died from suicide than combat exposure. Determining the driving factors behind this increase is not only important in mission readiness and the safety of our nation but can provide information on whether or not key individuals (whites, males) should not be used in combat situations if already prone to suicide. Because it is already proven in the civilian world that these individuals are more prone to commit suicide, one must wonder if this is true in the military. What characteristics predict whether or not an American soldier will commit suicide? Is it the same as in the civilian world? And if there is any difference, it may be important to know in prevention and treatment as well as selection for service and screening measurements.
Suicides among U.S military members, both active and reserve, have become increasingly common as shown in Figure 3. Beginning after the...


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... Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Dept. of the Army.
Journal Of American Medical Association (2013, August). JAMA Network | JAMA | Risk Factors Associated With Suicide in Current and Former US Military Personnel. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1724276
Mastroianni, G., & Scott, W. (2011). Reframing Suicide in the Military. Retrieved from http://strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/parameters/Articles/2011summer/Mastroianni%20and%20Scott.pdf

Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (2006). 2006 Demographics Report. Retrieved from http://www.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/2006%20Demographics.pdf
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Defense Casualty Analysis System (DCAS) Public Use File, 2006, 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006. Retrieved October 2013, from http://research.archives.gov/description/4734834



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