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Suicide increases in the Military according to DOD

Mental Health and Suicide


The Department of Defense confirms suicides among service members has hit an all time high (since the Department of Defense began taking statistics in 2001) with a reported 349 service members taking their own lives last year.

According to the report, the Pentagon confirmed that there were 239 deaths in 2012 which were confirmed suicides, with an additional 110 probable suicides. This is up from the 301 which were reported in 2011. This report includes the suicide deaths of serviceman deployed to military war zones as well as those in the reserves.

For years the Pentagon has attempted to identify service members who may be at a higher risk for suicide, but despite their attempts, which have included increased counseling services, every branch of the government saw an increase in suicides last year. Suicides in the army, for instance, increased by 16 last year, suicides in the navy increased by 8 and suicides in the Air Force increased by 8.

The military acknowledges, however, that one of the greatest challenges to identifying persons at risk is to determine the triggering event. For instance, it may seem that suicides would increase with the stress of fighting in a combat zone but studies have determined there is not a direct link to combat and suicide.



Another side-effect of suicide is the number of people affected by the death. According toTragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which is a private-sector support group for surviving family members, there are at least 10 people who are personally impacted by each death. The military is also investing what to do to help others affected by a military death.

Mental health disorders are real and just like it would be impossible for someone with a physical disorder such as a broken leg to stand up and walk without medical treatment, soldiers must also get help for a serious mental disorder.

Mental Health Disorders and SSDI benefits


If you are a soldier who is suffering from a mental health disorder you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is offered for both mental and physical health disorders and is available if your condition is so severe you are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months.

Soldiers may also receive SSDI benefits in addition to VA disability benefits. But keep in mind, however, the SSA does not offer any type of partial disability payments and getting VA disability will not automatically ensure you will be approved for SSDI.

Proving a mental disorder for SSDI


To prove you are disabled you will need to provide medical records from mental health facilities, treating psychiatrists and psychologists. You also need to see a mental health professional and follow your doctor’s mental health treatment plan.

The SSA has a listing of conditions and symptoms which they consider automatically disabling. This listing is called the SSA Listing of Impairments or Blue Book.

Find your condition on this list and make sure your medical records have a clear diagnosis and list of your symptoms. If your mental disorder is on the SSA listing of impairments or if your mental disorder or symptoms “meets or exceeds” another listing you should be approved for benefits.
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