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Monday, December 31, 2012

Why are more Americans killing themselves?

The year of the suicide

From the piece:

Let’s call 2012 the year of the suicide: On Friday, the Department of the Army released a reportrevealing that suicides continue to outnumber combat-related deaths among American soldiers —an average of one suicide a day— a number that’s increasing despite the fact that the armed forces have installed new training and awareness programs over the past few years. Stateside, suicide has become the leading cause of death by injury, and is the 10th leading cause of death overall. According to a CDC report released over the summer, suicide attempts by high-school students has risen to from 6.3 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent in 2011, and accounts for 13 percent of all deaths among people between the ages of 10 and 24 — the third leading cause of death in that age group.

These are sobering statistics. And with the statistics comes more data to explain them: The Washington Post reported that “the stress on the force after more than a decade of lengthy and multiple deployments for many troops in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” whileDefense Secretary Leon Panetta attributed the high rate to “substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems … that will endure beyond war.” Among civilians, the number of suicides have been attributed to the recession — historically, there is a spike with everyeconomic downturnAnd 20 percent of high-school teenagers say they are being bullied — 16 percent say they’ve been cyber-bullied through texting, IM-ing, email, and Facebook or other social media.

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