Wartime Suicide Rates Rise Among US Army Soldiers
United States army suicide rates have historically decreased during wartime. But a new study of U.S. records suggests that trend appears to have changed direction, with rates rising in recent years.
Researchers examined nearly 200 years of U.S. army records and other information. They found that, in earlier times, there was a decrease in suicide rates among army soldiers during and just after wars. However, the researchers report that the rate has risen considerably since 2004.
Their report appeared in JAMA Network Open, a publication of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers cannot explain the change - or the decrease in earlier periods during wartime. But they believe documenting the trends might lead to a better understanding of the underlying causes of military suicides.
Jeffrey Smith was the leader of the study. He heads the Department of History at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. Smith told the Reuters news agency that the increase in suicide rates is impossible to solve until you try to understand the history of it.
"We're hoping that gaining an understanding of history will help us in the fight to reduce the tragedy of military suicide," said Smith.
The military suicide rate was markedly higher in the 1800s than in modern times. Then it reached an all-time low just after World War II, where it remained "until this period of open-ended wars," Smith added.
Smith's team is hoping to launch other studies into the causes of military suicide. To learn more about trends in army suicide, they studied U.S. Army Surgeon General reports, other government publications and medical journals published between 1840 and 2018.
Rates of suicide increased starting in 1843. The suicide rate reached its highest level, at 118.3 per 100,000 soldiers, in 1883. The rate then decreased in three waves, each linked with one of three wars: the Spanish American War in 1898, World War I and World War II.
The final years of World War II had the lowest rate of Army suicides, at 5 per 100,000 in 1944 and 1945. From there, it changed little until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, when it reached 18 per 100,000 soldiers. Then the rate started climbing during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
"It's interesting to note ... the military didn't take much in the way of active measures to decrease the number of suicides until World War II," Smith said.
Paul Nestadt is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland. He was not involved in the study, but he noted that its findings among members of the military are similar to what has been happening in the general population.
"In the general population, there has been a 30% increase in suicide over the same last 17 years," he said.
Nestadt noted that one hopeful sign is once the military began to work on reducing suicides, the rates actually fell. "It may mean that when we do try to address it, the rates may be reduced," he said.
I'm Pete Musto.
1.assistant professor 助理教授
Brady Cox is an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Arkansas.
2.suicide rates 自杀率
There was a striking discrepancy between the suicide rates of the cities.
3.in earlier times 在早期
In earlier times, sailors sometimes died if their ship was becalmed for a long time.
4.army soldiers 士兵
Iraqi Army soldiers raided houses in western Baghdad on Thursday.
5.But a new study of U.S. records suggests that trend appears to have changed direction, with rates rising in recent years.
in recent years 近年来
India has witnessed many political changes in recent years.
Attitudes to mental illness have shifted in recent years.
6.But they believe documenting the trends might lead to a better understanding of the underlying causes of military suicides.
a better understanding of 更好的理解...
If you read this book, you will have a better understanding of the causes of the trouble.
We're getting to have a better understanding of the problem.
历史上，美国军队在战争期间的自杀率一直在下降 。但对美国记录的一项新研究表明，这一趋势似乎开始逆转，近年来自杀率不断攀升 。
研究人员检查了近200年的美国军队的记录和其他信息 。他们发现，在早期，战争期间和战争刚刚结束时，美军士兵的自杀率有所下降 。然而，研究人员报告称，自2004年以来，这一比例开始大幅攀升 。
他们的报告发表在美国医学会杂志《JAMA Network Open》上 。
研究人员无法解释这一变化，找不出战争早期自杀率下降原因 。但他们认为，记录这些趋势可能有助于更好地理解美军士兵自杀的根本原因 。
杰弗里·史密斯（Jeffrey Smith）是这项研究的负责人 。他是夏威夷大学历史系的系主任 。史密斯告诉路透社，除非试图了解其发展史，否则自杀率攀升是不可能解决的 。
19世纪的士兵自杀率明显高于现代 。史密斯补充说，然后，自杀率在二战后达到了历史最低点，“直到这段无休止的战争时期 。”
史密斯的研究小组希望对有关军人自杀原因的开展其他研究 。为了解更多关于军人自杀的趋势，他们研究了1840年至2018年间发表的美国陆军卫生局局长报告、其他政府出版物和医学期刊 。
自杀率从1843年开始上升 。1883年，自杀率达到了最高水平，每10万士兵中有118.3人自杀 。随后，这一比率经历了三次下降，每次下降都与三次战争有关：1898年的西班牙美国战争、第一次世界大战和第二次世界大战 。
第二次世界大战的最后几年，军队自杀率最低，在1944年和1945年为每10万人中有5人自杀 。从那时起，它几乎没有改变，直到1975年越南战争结束，每10万士兵中有18人自杀 。然后，在伊拉克和阿富汗战争期间，这一比例开始攀升 。
“值得注意的是……直到第二次世界大战，军方才采取积极措施减少自杀人数 。”史密斯说道 。
保罗·内斯塔特（Paul Nestadt）是马里兰州约翰霍普金斯医学院的精神病学助理教授 。他没有参与这项研究，但他指出，这项研究在军人中发现的情况与在普通人群中发现的情况相似 。
内斯塔特指出，一个令人鼓舞的迹象是，一旦军方开始努力降低自杀率，自杀率真的就下降了 。他说，“这可能意味着，当我们尝试解决这一问题时，自杀率可能就会降低” 。