The Military's Invisible War - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

The Military's Invisible War

Posted: Updated:

It's a war that very few people know about and even fewer people are writing or talking about. And yet this war claimed far more lives in our military last year than American combat deaths in Afghanistan. In 2012 the number of suicides in the U.S. military soared to 349. Compare that to the 295 Americans who died in Afghanistan the same year, according to the Associated Press.

Unfortunately, that number is not an anomaly. Indeed it seems to be reflective of a very disturbing trend that some experts predict will only grow worse.The question is why? And by all indications, the answer is very complex and controversial.

Military suicides began to rise noticeably in 2006, surging to a record 310 in 2009, a record which disturbingly has now been shattered. And now a new study suggests the exploding suicide rates may have little to do with deployment to war zones. Researchers say having  prior mental health problems of some kind, substance abuse or just being male put soldiers at a higher risk for taking their own lives. Where a soldier is deployed or whether he or she was in combat situations were not found to increase the risk of suicide.

The study concludes, among other things, screening for mental and substance use disorders and providing high-quality treatments are the best tools for reversing the alarming suicide trend. The study does have its skeptics and critics, some of whom flat out reject the researchers' findings.

I certainly don't purport to be an authority on this subject but you don't have to be an expert to recognize the military's suicide rate is a very serious problem. Whatever the reasons people have for enlisting, the fact is, those who do, perform a priceless service for our country. If they don't make this issue a top priority, our politicians and the Pentagon will do those who often sacrifice so much for our nation a monumental disservice.

  • Share ThisMore>>

  • Venice Lightning Strike Survivor Meets His Rescuers

    Venice Lightning Strike Survivor Meets His Rescuers

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:48:58 GMT
    A month and a day has passed since the fatal lightning strike suddenly hit the shore off Venice Beach, hospitalizing about a dozen people. One of the most critically injured patients was reunited with his rescuers by the Venice Pier Thursday.
    A month and a day has passed since the fatal lightning strike suddenly hit the shore off Venice Beach, hospitalizing about a dozen people. One of the most critically injured patients was reunited with his rescuers by the Venice Pier Thursday.
  • Google building fleet of package-delivering drones

    Google building fleet of package-delivering drones

    Google's secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly.
    Google's secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly.
  • National Dog Day: Send Us Your Pup Pics

    National Dog Day: Send Us Your Pup Pics

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:17 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:17:59 GMT
    The purpose of the holiday is to show appreciation for the millions of the dogs in the US that keep us safe and bring us comfort and companionship.
    The purpose of the holiday is to show appreciation for the millions of the dogs in the US that keep us safe and bring us comfort and companionship.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices