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 conflicts in the Middle East around 2001, the service member suicide rates have been rising. From 2005 to 2008, in active duty members alone, the rate increased from 10.3 to 16.3 per 100,000. Since 2009, suicide rates among those on active-duty status have stabilized at approximately 18 per 100 000. It is important to know the factors driving this increase for many reasons. The most important thing we can get from this is a better to way to both prevent and treat victims faced with thoughts of suicide.
A widely believed cause of this increase in suicides lies mostly on combat aspects. Being in the military is a lifestyle that is truly physically draining. The day to day life of being in the military is stressful. Multiple tours, increased stress, longer hours ‘repetitive deployments and much longer deployments, being away from friends and family more than in the past than in recent years can be believed to take a heavy toll on service members. The Rand Corporation issued in a report on military suicides that states that the US involvement in conflicts since 2001 has taken a toll on the service that has manifested itself in increased suicides. Dr. Brian Craig, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry...