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Military Connection: Study ties Veteran Suicide to Early Separations

military suicide

By Debbie Gregory.

A recent study found that there is no link between military/Veteran suicides and deployments, but surprisingly, connects high suicide rates to early separation.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2). The researchers collected data on the 3.9 million men and women who served in the U.S. military between October, 2001, through December, 2009, during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The research found that even though the suicide rate among these service members had increased, the rate for those among them who deployed to a combat zone were not much different than those who did not deploy.

For the study, researchers reviewed the records of all personnel who served from Oct. 7, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2007, using materials obtained from the Defense Manpower Data Center, as well as death records from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner system and the National Death Index.

The research found that 3,945,099 individuals served during this time period. They also found that of the 31,962 of these individuals who have died during the six-year study, 5,041 of them were documented suicides. Of the suicides, 3,879 of them were committed by individuals who did not deploy.

The study found that service members who were at the highest risk for suicide were those who served for less than their full enlistment in the military. There was apparently an extremely high suicide rate among those who served for less than three years. The T2 research also found that the suicide rate among those who served less than a year, between 2001 and 2009, was two and half times greater than those who complete a full enlistment.

The research was designed to determine why these individuals were more prone to suicide. But the researchers do speculate, based on combining their data with previous research, that secondary problems (such as legal matters, injuries, substance abuse or mental health conditions) may have led to their early separation from the military and could have also contributed to their suicidal tendencies.

But for some, it could have been the transition itself that led them to take their own life. With separation from the military comes the loss of identity, loss of social support network, trouble finding meaningful and sustainable employment, or feeling like they don’t fit or are a burden to their loved ones or on society.

For more about the study visit the T2 website.

For more information on Veteran suicides or to seek help for yourself or a Veteran in crisis visit www.veteranscrisisline.net or call 1(800) 273- 8255 [then press 1] or text 838255.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: US to Remain in Baltics: By Debbie Gregory

SSG Bartoszyn_Polish NCOA Graduation_4

American forces will remain in strategic European sites through 2015.

In April, 2014, the U.S. military deployed around 600 personnel to Europe. This was in response to Russia’s involvement in Crimea’s separation from Ukraine, and subsequent intimidation of the fledgling Ukrainian government and members of the European Union. These forces are intended to emphasize the U.S.’s commitment to their NATO allies, and are in addition to the 29,000 American service members who are permanently stationed in Germany, Italy, and Belgium.

Recently, the commander of the US Army Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, announced that American forces will remain in Poland and the Baltic states through 2015. Rotations for troop movements have already been planned. The approximately 600 U.S. Army troops from the 1st Cavalry Division, who are currently stationed in Poland and the Baltic countries, are scheduled to depart in mid-December, after their three month stint. These soldiers will be replaced by personnel from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Vilseck, Germany, who will then turn over duties to the 3rd Infantry Division next spring.

The general also said that around 150 tanks and armored vehicles will be sent to the Baltic states and Poland, as part of what is being called “Operation Atlantic Resolve.” Along with the troop and equipment positioning the U.S. military will also continue conducting joint exercises with NATO allies.

According to reports, 50 tanks and armored vehicles are already in place and another 100 M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles will be strategically staged around Europe.

In recent months, European NATO allies have also deployed hundreds of troops for exercises. The alliance has also boosted its Air Force presence in the region. It is important that NATO safeguards its unity at this time. Since their gracious hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia has meddled with and interfered with its smaller, less equipped neighbors, most notably Ukraine.

NATO has accused Russia of sending combatants to fight alongside separatists in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has always denied its involvement in the fighting, but has openly given rebels political backing and non-lethal supplies to support their cause against the Ukrainian government.

Military Connection would like to encourage everyone to keep our deployed service members in their thoughts and prayers. Through the holiday season and the rest of this year and through 2015, we hope for their continued well-being and safe return home.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: US to Remain in Baltics 2015: By Debbie Gregory