Suicide Rate of Women Vets Triple that of Non-Vets

Saturday, December 04, 2010
Because they fulfill the combat duties of warfare, male soldiers and their recent spike in suicides have garnered considerable media attention. But the problem of veterans taking their own lives has also become serious among women, who are enduring what researchers call a “hidden epidemic.”
After reviewing data on every female suicide in the military from 2004-2007, the suicide rate among female veterans 18-34 years old was determined to be 1 in 7,465, compared with 1 in 22,763 among non-veterans, according to three academic researchers from Oregon. They also found suicide rates were 78% higher among female veterans age 35-44, and 58% higher among those age 45-64.
In addition to experiencing the stress of being in combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, women in the military face the added threat of sexual violence. Another study of 21,800 women veterans who served in Iraq found that 15% experienced rapes or harassment while in the service.
More than 250,000 American women have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Datapoints: Self-Inflicted Deaths Among Women with U.S. Military Service: A Hidden Epidemic? (by Bentson H. McFarland, Mark S. Kaplan and Nathalie Huguet, Psychiatric Services)


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