When researchers asked 72 soldiers at Fort Carson, Colo., why they tried to kill themselves, out of the 33 reasons they had to choose from, all of the soldiers included one in particular — a desire to end intense emotional distress.
“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,” said Craig Bryan, co-author of the study by the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah that will be published in the coming months.
Suicide within the military has soared since 2005 as the military has waged two wars at once, and this year may set a record with troops committing suicide at the rate of one per day, according to Pentagon figures.
But military scientists say that finally, after years of congressional funding and the launch of randomized studies of a subject rarely researched, a few validated results are beginning to surface.
The findings by the Pentagon-funded study offer perhaps some guidance on how to attack the problem, said Army Col. Carl Castro, who is coordinating $50 million in research into suicide prevention and treatment.
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