The Baltimore Sun (9/27, Cox) reports that yesterday’s mandatory suicide-prevention training that took place at Fort Meade, MD, “was part of an Army-wide initiative undertaken as the military branch is on pace to reach its highest-ever suicide rate. The number of suicides each year has nearly doubled since 2005, from 87 to 165 last year.” In addition, “the number of monthly suicides doubled from June to July — when suicides outpaced combat deaths of active-duty soldiers.” Efforts such as yesterday’s training are part of the Army’s attempts to change its culture so that soldiers who need mental healthcare experience no stigma in asking for it.
Psychiatrist: Many Troops Who Start PTSD Treatment Do Not Complete It. Medscape (9/27, Brauser) details efforts made by the Department of Defense, Congress, and even the President to stem the tide of psychiatric illnesses, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, in active-duty military members. However, “in a presentation at this year’s American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting, Major Gary H. Wynn, MD, research psychiatrist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Walter Reed Army Institutes of Research…said that between 20% and 50% of soldiers who begin treatment for combat-related PTSD walk away before its completion,” citing “a study published in 2011 in Military Psychology that reported key reasons for this lack of follow-through often include mistrust of mental health clinicians, a belief that these types of problems can work themselves out on their own, and an overall belief that seeking treatment should be a last resort.”
— “Army pauses operations for mandatory suicide prevention training, “Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun, September 26, 2012.