Why US Soldiers Attempt Suicide

New study uncovers top reason
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2012 11:46 AM CDT
Why US Soldiers Attempt Suicide
A US soldier scans the horizon as the sun rises at the Combat Outpost (COP) Sabari in Khost province in the east of Afghanistan on June 21, 2011.   (Getty Images)

When soldiers attempt suicide, the No. 1 reason is because they want to put a stop to severe emotional distress, a new survey finds. "This really is the first study that provides scientific data saying that the top reason … these guys are trying to kill themselves is because they have this intense psychological suffering and pain," says a co-author of the study. Researchers gave 33 possible reasons for a suicide attempt to 72 soldiers who had tried to kill themselves, and all of them included that reason, USA Today reports. The soldiers listed an average of 10 reasons each.

Military suicides have been on the rise since 2005, and this year may see a new record set: Disturbingly, soldiers are killing themselves at a rate of one each day; the suicide rates are highest among those who are divorced or separated. But this study and other research could help when it comes to tackling the problem. "The core of the issue is that it's not that people who attempt suicide … want to harm themselves as much as they want the pain they're currently in to stop, and they don't see any other way out," says an Army colonel coordinating research. New therapies will focus on teaching soldiers how to deal with emotional pain, he adds. (Read more US military stories.)

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