Twenty Percent of US Soldiers Had Mental Illness Before Enlisting

120117-A-0000X-771 (7016614597)Some people might say you’d have to have a mental problem to enlist in the military, but that’s not exactly the point of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry as reported in The Guardian:

The first three studies in a large research initiative to better understand US military suicides indicates that some patterns in military suicide are reflective of mental health problems in the civilian population.

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army Starrs) uses data from existing army systems and what researchers can collect from soldiers to better understand why soldiers might be at an increased risk for suicidal behavior compared to the civilian population.

Two of the three papers, published Monday in Jama Psychiatry, show the results of surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers which looked at theprevalence of mental disorders among non-deployed soldiers and suicidal behavior among currently deployed soldiers. The third study tested common theories about military suicide using historical data.

One major data point from the studies: 1 in 5 soldiers had a common mental illness before enlisting in the army, but were able to clear the military’s screening procedures. Intermittent explosive disorder was the most common disorder in the study and was prevalent in the the pre-enlistment population at nearly six times the civilian rate.

“Depression might get a person thinking about suicide, but it’s really this history of aggressive, angry outbursts that predicts who acts on their suicidal thoughts,” said Matthew Nock, a Harvard University psychologist who led the study on the prevalence of suicide. He said this also holds true in the civilian population.

While the disorder was more prevalent in the military population, pre-enlistment rates for mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and substance abuse mirrored those in the US civilian population. The study authors said the pre-enlistment mental disorders could be targets for early screening and intervention in the military…

[continues in The Guardian]


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17 Comments on "Twenty Percent of US Soldiers Had Mental Illness Before Enlisting"

  1. I don’t know. Call me a contrarian, but I think it’s good that the military accepts more mentally ill people, drawing them away from the general population. Think about it: We can win more wars when we hire our most crazed, angry and aggressive men and women, along with the suicidal depressives, put them on the front lines to Take Care of Business in the most brutal and efficient ways technology can allow, while also providing the dreck with something to do while paying taxes.

    Double-Bonus: Through a legal and socially acceptable way (War!), we are removing faulty genes from the dating pool whenever their dicks are blown off, or their dead bodies fly ‘home’ draped in Made in the USA flags (Stimulus Growth!).

    Seriously, think about it, this is all for the Good. I say, Let the Army continue unhindered.

    • Pretty funny!

      But seriously, folks, I’m also a “contrarian.” Mentally ill people are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, and are more likely to be victimized than the general population. So by accepting the mentally ill into the military, we are weakening it.

      • Or strengthen it, seeing that the mentally ill can take more abuse from the Officers, more than the average Joe, and will be less likely to squeal to Congrees. Plus, it gives the deficient a sense of purpose in life to keep marching off to War every other year.

        If we start letting a bunch of smarty pants intellectuals and sane people into the military, then we’ll really see a decrease in force capacity. The last thing we want are a bunch of wide-eyed beatniks and professorial weekend warriors to muck of the works, questioning everything and disobeying orders. Let the sane people fool around with the drones and the computer game warfare crap, and keep the nut jobs on the ground where they belong. Also,can we fucking balance the god damnn budget already. We can sell some of these excess white babies to oligarchs overseas at a premium, use the profit to shore up the bottom line. OK? Thanks

        • Jason Limbert | Mar 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm |

          Unfortunately, your right. Hell, your both right. But I wager the drone pilots, or whatever they’re called are crazy too. Just a different kinda crazy. Im sure the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has a word for it.

        • Request denied.

  2. BuzzCoastin | Mar 6, 2014 at 11:57 am |

    it couldn’t be the inhuman working conditions
    or the total surrender of civil rights to a totalitarian military elite
    it couldn’t be having to serve as thugs & henchman for corporate interests
    or living in hostile occupied kunteries
    it couldn’t be the knowledge that you are dispised
    by large numbers of people both inside & outside your own kuntery
    it must be they were nuts to begin with

    • Would a sane person enlist?

      • BuzzCoastin | Mar 6, 2014 at 5:09 pm |

        young kids are extremely naive
        and many have naive parents & families
        then one day johnny blows his brains out
        while doing his 3rd tour in Bumfukistan
        and evryone is miffed & chagrined

        • “What went wrong?” Hello!
          It’s sad that there are still so many poor dumb bastards who are totally brainwashed by the constant barage of propaganda. They get caught up in this and worse shit, just because they bought the BIG LIE.

        • I disagree.

          • BuzzCoastin | Mar 7, 2014 at 1:53 am |

            there’s a first time for everything

            you can’t drink booze till yer 21
            but you can defend yer kuntrry at 16

    • Jason Limbert | Mar 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm |

      Kuntery! Love it

  3. Reuben_the_Red | Mar 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |

    Something like fifteen percent or more of red-blooded ‘merican boys signing up to fight in WWONE were turned away because of mental illness or mental handicaps. Lord knows what the standards were then. So they stayed home and reproduced instead.

  4. Reuben_the_Red | Mar 8, 2014 at 4:47 pm |

    “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a
    concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and
    immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr
    was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon
    as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more
    missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t,
    but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy
    and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.
    Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this
    clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.” -Joseph Heller

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