Effect of combat, deployment on troop suicides may be overstated

WASHINGTON – Between the first of the year and the end of April, NBC News reports the U.S. military recorded 161 potential suicides — about one every 18 hours.

But the effect of combat and repeated deployments may be overstated.

Recent Pentagon data show that 52 percent of troops who committed suicide from 2008 to 2011 while on active duty never served in Afghanistan or Iraq.

The Los Angeles Times reports not only did the majority of suicide victims never deploy to war, only 14 percent witnessed combat.

Experts say some entered the military with backgrounds or psychological histories that made them more prone to suicide.

“A lot of the risk for suicide in the military is the stuff they bring with them,” Dr. Murray Stein, a psychiatrist at UC San Diego who is studying suicide in the Army, tells the Times.

Read more from The Los Angeles Times here.

WTOP’s Jeanne Meserve contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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