Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The tragic toll on soldiers

From the Washington Post:

Veterans' Hot Line Prevented 1,221 Suicides in One Year

JULY 28 - A suicide hot line launched a year ago has received calls from more than 22,000 veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars and has prevented 1,221 suicides, according to U.S. government figures...

The hot line -- created jointly by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration -- gets up to 250 calls a day, the Associated Press reported.

In addition to calls from veterans, the hot line has received tens of thousands of calls since last July from people concerned about veterans' well-being.

About one in five U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which puts them at increased risk for suicide, according to a recent RAND Corp. study, the AP reported. (link)
And the National Post:
Soldiers report higher rates of depression: StatsCan

OTTAWA, July 23 - Full-time members of the Canadian Forces are more likely to perceive their mental health as poor than those in the civilian workforce, according to a new Statistics Canada analysis released Wednesday.

The agency also said they were more likely to report having a major depression in the previous 12 months, 8% compared to 5% in the civilian workforce. On mental health, the gap was 9% for Canadian Forces members versus 6% on the civilian side...

Canadian government and military officials are increasingly focussing on the mental health of Canadian soldiers.

The government has opened a handful of clinics across the country for soldiers, many of whom have served in Afghanistan, who are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and other problems.

Parliamentary committees also have delved into the issue, pressing the government to do a better job of tracking the mental health of Canadian Forces personnel in light of recent research that says a significant percentage of soldiers returning from Afghanistan are plagued by panic disorders, depression and suicidal tendencies... (link)

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