According to a study of Army soldiers conducted from 2004–2009 published yesterday in JAMA Psychiatry, new enlistees, women and soldiers who have been diagnosed with mental health disorders are more likely to attempt suicide.
"Once [soldiers] have completed suicide, there's nothing you can do about it. They are dead," said Dr. Robert Ursano, the chairman of the psychiatry department at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. "So you try to work backward — to understand those who have tried, then those who have completed a plan, and those who have thought about it."
Roughly 99% of suicide attempts in the Army, during 2004–2009 were made by enlisted personnel, who make up the majority of the force — roughly 84%. The research also found that enlisted soldiers and officers who entered the service at the age of 25 were at greater risk of suicide and that women were twice as likely as their male counterparts to try to take their own life. Suicide risk was particularly high duringa service member's first tour, in particular the first few months, and troops who received a mental health diagnosis were at risk of attempting suicide within a month of getting the news.
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.