More bad numbers hidden in spin: 2010 is highest of U.S. Marine Suicide Attempts

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This sounded too good to be true because it is. The Marines have been changing their attitude on PTSD and depression so deeply felt they want to end their own lives, but they have a long way to go. More Marines tried to kill themselves this year with 14 attempts last month.

These numbers are bad but at least they do show some of the efforts made have been working. We’ve seen these numbers go down before only to be followed by an increase the following month. Let’s hope they are finally getting it right.

MILITARY: Marines record first suicide-free month since 2007
NUMBER OF ATTEMPTED SUICIDES THIS YEAR, HOWEVER, EXCEEDS PREVIOUS RECORD TOTAL

November was the first suicide-free month for the U.S. Marine Corps since June 2007.

“It’s a good sign, but we are not even thinking of celebrating,” Col. Grant Olbrich, head of the Marine Corps’ Suicide Prevention program, said Friday. “There is no trend yet.”

Through November, 35 Marines have killed themselves this year, compared with a record 52 suicides among its 202,000 troops in 2009. That was up from 42 in 2008, 33 in 2007 and 26 in 2006, according to service statistics.

“My goal is zero suicides,” Olbrich said. “If we end next year at a lower level than 2006, still no one in the Marine Corps will be satisfied.”

While there were no suicides in November, the Marine Corps’ monthly suicide report, issued this week, showed that the number of troops who attempted suicide in 2010 now exceeds the total for any previous year. Fourteen troops tried to kill themselves in November, the report said, raising that number for the year to 165, one more than the record 164 attempted suicides in all of 2009.

More than 50,000 troops are stationed at two local bases, Camp Pendleton and Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. The Marines and the Army are bearing the brunt of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the increases in military suicides have been particularly vexing to them.
Marines record first suicide-free month since 2007

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