Posted at: 09/10/2012 6:50 PM
Updated at: 09/10/2012 6:54 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
Mayo Review Looks At Increase in Military Suicides
(ABC 6 News) -- Tuesday marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. But for many soldiers, the effects of that day still linger. Doctor Timothy Lineberry of Mayo Clinic took a look at the issue specifically within the US Army.
In the first 6 months of the year, 154 soldiers took their own lives. That's an 18% jump from the same time period last year. Those statistics, led Lineberry to look into the issue, specifically suicides in the U.S. Army. He says those increased 80% from 2004 to 2008.
"The Army has provided the vast majority of troops that are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Lineberry.
Many factors have led to the increasing numbers including the number of deployments soldiers have and how long those deployments last. While Lineberry's study looked at the issue specifically within the U.S. Army, suicides are a growing concern in every branch of the military.
"We try and take the time to do mentor our Marines and say hey here's the steps that you need to take if you're having problems with it," said Marine Sergeant Landon Dhames.
Another issue is the stigma related to suicide in the military.
"The effect on your career, your security clearance, your ability to carry a weapon."
Lineberry's review points to some specifics that could decrease the number of suicides. He suggests locking up guns, minimizing the amounts of opiates that are prescribed, and looking at a lack of sleep as a risk factor.
"When you're having problems with your sleep you're a little bit more likely to talk about that," said Lineberry.
If you or a family member are experiencing suicidal thoughts or just want to talk about symptoms, you are encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Veterans are also encouraged to participate in military programs.