US Military Suicides Vastly Outnumber Combat Deaths Since 9/11

The United States is no stranger to casualties in war. Troops are lost to enemy fire, bombs, and friendly fire. However, troops are not being lost to a whole new enemy.

Loss of Life

According to a study by Watson Institute at Brown University, since 9/11 we have been loosing astronomical numbers of service members to suicide. The study states that 7,057 member died in war efforts.

We have lost over 30,000 service members and veterans to suicide. The extensive study details how the military rate came to be so high, far surpassing the rates for civilians.

In the 35 pages the study says brain injuries, wartime injury treatment, public sentiment, and the extensive length of the wars increased the suicide rate. In 2018, the number rose 49% over previous years.

Rate Factors

Factors that are specialized to post 9/11 don't include traditional causes, factors like trauma, sexual abuse, lack of self-help support, moral responsibility among service members, and gun ownership.

The study author Thomas Howard Suitt, Ph.D., said, “This trend is deeply alarming."

He also said the trend shows a great failure on the part of the military. They are not managing "the mental health cost of our current conflicts."

Men Behind the Numbers

A cost he details in the study using statics from service member and their families stories. People who knew them best.

One service member was Marine Lt. Col. Brett A. Hart. He was a helicopter and MV-22B Osprey pilot almost ready to retire after serving for 30 years. He never made it to retirement.

Former Task & Purpose columnist and Marine aviator said, "Brett was one of the people that was so with it. He would be the guy I would call for advice. I can't figure out why he would do this."

The rate of reservists dying has risen too.


Traumatic brain injuries are one of the main causes of a higher suicide rate. One in five service members have received an injury, some more than one.

Russel Worth Parker had 17 saying he was "chronically tired," "subsequently angry," and "depressed." PTSD, lack of sleep, and other traumas continue to add to the problems for many service members.

“Unless the U.S. government and U.S. society makes significant changes in the ways we manage the mental health crisis among our service members and veterans, suicide rates will continue to climb. That is a cost of war we cannot accept.”

Thomas Howard Suitt
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