Sunday, December 12, 2010

Suicides Among Female Military Veterans

According to a study of female suicides by researcher Mark Kaplan of Portland State University, the rate of female U.S. military veterans taking their own lives is significantly higher than the suicide rate among civilian peers.
"Female veterans — age 18 to 34 — are three times as likely as their civilian peers to die by suicide," he said.

That's a very big difference. Because historically there have been many more men than women in the military, the problem of female suicide hasn't received much attention. But the armed forces are integrating: In the current wars, women are on increasingly on the frontlines.

Kaplan says he wants people to take suicide among female vets more seriously.

"When we think of suicide, and suicide completion, I don't think we often think of women enough," he said.
Reasons given for the high rate of suicide are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military sexual trauma, which covers everything from sexual assault to sexual harassment.

The Veterans Administration screens for military sexual trauma among female veterans, reportedly identifying tens of thousands of cases yearly.

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