Suicide & The U.S. Military

The suicide rates in the United States are the highest they’ve been since World War II. To quantify that statement, a reported 14 out of every 100,000 Americans died by suicide in 2017. That’s a 33% increase from data before 9/11. One of the leading causes of suicide and suicidal thoughts is, without a doubt, depression. Depression is also a common symptom and effect of the invisible wounds of war sustained by our military heroes: traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS).

Among the military, the rates of suicide are storied, and they are not to be minimized. Male combat veterans are 18 times more likely to die by suicide than male civilians. Female combat veterans are a staggering 250 times more likely to die by suicide than female civilians. Though studies on trauma have varied results on whether or not combat trauma increases the risk of suicidal thoughts, sustaining either a TBI or PTS can without a doubt lead to depression.

What can be done in the short term though? Properly identifying and addressing the underlying causes must be a priority. In the case of our military heroes, timely diagnosis and treatment for the effects of TBI and PTS are key. Every day, new breakthroughs emerge in hopes of helping to more quickly address these afflictions. Especially with TBIs, timing is critical. 

The matter of where to find treatment is also crucial for our military heroes. With the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund’s construction of the National Intrepid Center for Excellence in 2010, and the ongoing expansion of that method of treatment into satellite Intrepid Spirit Centers across the country, our mission is to create spaces that help address this critical need. Our network of centers has seen more than 400,000 patients to date. The completion of each Intrepid Spirit Center provides more opportunity to service members to access diagnoses and treatments to address symptoms of TBI and PTS including depression and suicidal thoughts. Help support our mission to heal our heroes today.


Posted on September 9 2019 in Blog

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