Colorado

Mar 4, 2014 7:26 PM by Matt Prichard

Soldier suicide study

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a detailed study looking at soldier suicides between the years of 2004 and 2009.

As more soldiers continue to return from Iraq and Afghanistan the problem is expected to grow, and for one Vietnam veteran it's not surprising. 

"It's not going to end. We're just seeing the tip of the iceberg now, we really are. Because as we learned after Vietnam, as the years go by, these problems can surface many years later," said The Home Front Cares spokesman, Dennis Mccormack. 

Financial, family and purpose driven questions plague the mind of a returning soldier contributing factors to a growing problem.

"These were the go-to-guys in the military. They took care of everybody else, they were the strong ones, they were the ones that were brave and did what needed to be done. And now even within their own families they feel like they're just a burden," said Mccormack. 

The study shows that soldier suicide rates have surpassed that of civilians and continue to climb. The key to getting those numbers back down may start at the beginning.

"Part of our job to serve our service members, as well as our nation. Is to do a more effective job of screening people to see if they're a good fit for the high-intensive demands of a combat related position," said Front Range Behavioral Health Psychologist, Christ Phillips.

But that's in a perfect world and this is reality. Mccormack says there's only one way to get them the help they need.

"They have to admit they're broken, they have to want help. They have to admit they need help, because you can't force them to do anything," said Mccormack.

The study lasted through 2009 but suicides in the army continue to climb reaching their all time high in 2012, before dipping just last year.

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