Study Shows Soldiers Have Been Killing Themselves At Unprecedented Rates

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) — A decade of war has given the U.S. military a huge problem. Soldiers have been killing themselves at an unprecedented rate.

At an U.S. Army Reserve welcome home ceremony Friday, Mike Schuh witnessed the changes being made to protect the troops once they’ve returned.

At any military ceremony, you can count on a few things–a commander’s speech, a crisp salute and, if returning, happy people just a few feet away.

Sgt. Donald Robidoux’s parents are giving thanks. His dad is a Navy vet and he’s happy he’s back. He was also proud his son was promoted.

“Well, I thank God I lived to 83 to be present at the ceremony,” said Norman Robidoux, father.

“It’s still nice to know you can bring a smile to your parents’ faces. Absolutely, I can’t put it any better than that. It just fills you up right here,” said Donald Robidoux.

He’s one of 16 soldiers who returned to Glen Burnie.

After being gone for a year, the last 10 months abroad have been spent on landing crafts doing military missions in Kuwait.

But across the U.S., so many soldiers have seen so much action for so many years. Suicide in the Army has doubled.

So at the homecoming, amidst all the joy, commanders — in just 10 minutes — reminded soldiers three times that they survived an enemy, so now they encourage them not to die by their own hands.

“Unfortunately it’s necessary,” said Robidoux.

Suicides among Army Reserves spiked in 2010.

“Some 4-star generals stepped up and said ‘I’ve had some challenges, I’ve had some PTSD, it’s OK, I got help,'” said LTC Deb Kotulich, 369th Battalion Commander.

Robidoux appreciates the effort, as now they’ve returned, his buddies are spread out across five states.

“So you don’t have that immediate contact with them, so if someone finds themselves in a hole three weeks from now unless someone has the good timing to have a phone call,” he said.

The good news is because of these efforts suicides are down dramatically this year.

The military says generally citizen soldiers — the Guard and Reserve — take their own lives more often than those on active duty.

More from Mike Schuh
  • Doug

    Suicide is painless,
    it come in many stages,
    can take or leave it
    if I please……..
    (words to theme from M.A.S.H.)

  • VWGirl

    Maybe the U.S Miltary should stop ordering them to kill innocent people and they would be able to live with themseklves upon return. When you are out there on the battlefield, there are so many other things going thru your mind and your mindset is that you have to be there for your country…NOT YOURSELF OR YOUR FAMILY OR YOUR WELL BEING… FOR YOUR COUNTRY THAT DOESNT GIVE A RATS A** ABOUT YOU!

    Its when they come home and dont have the “responsibility” anymore. They have the idol time to sit and jus let what they have done fester and eat them alive. Say as many harsh things you want about my post. I have MANY friends and family in the military that absolutely are not the same as before they went to “fight for our country”…Alchoholism….drug addiction….wildly violent and abusive, etc…. Yeah that doesnt just happen. Open your eyes America! I may sound like a Hippie….but Hippie or not…its the honest truth and you know this!

    • June Piper-Brandon

      Those people are far from innocent. If you haven’t been there and you haven’t seen what those soldiers see, you should walk a mile in their shoes before you judge..

  • VWGirl

    P.s. I dont care if its a MASH song. Suicide is not painless. It hurts. It hurts everyone who cares! Believe me, the love of my life killed themselves a few months back, and I hurt more than you could ever imagine. And people dont commit suicide cause theyre not in pain. So in the end….it has to be the most painful decision anyone could ever make.

    Sometime songs are stupid and dont make sense…perhaps thats y the words to this song are usually not used just the music….cause its stupid and has no truth to it.

  • Bernard Mc Kernan

    VWGirl, I am sorry for your loss. Remember the good you had with him as you look to a brighter future in time. You will heal but will never forget.



  • Army_wife31

    I Think it should be Mandatory that every Returning Solider have at least 3-6 mon of counseling NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!! yeah they have their debriefing and the few class after that they have to attend but its not enough… I Know all about PTSD its not easy on the Soldier or the Family….

  • Active Duty Soldier

    Not all Service members come back from deployments needing counseling. It doesn’t surprise me an Army Wife would say that. You probably go through normal routine day to day, we don’t have a normal routine, then expect us to be “normal” when we get home and just drop back into the role we were in? Please. All I thought about was my family and not dying on foreign soil. I come home and yeah, it took me a while to be back in the role as a parent, but counseling is always an option, not a requirement unless command directed. We don’t know how it was to fight in any world wars, korean war, civil war, vietnam, and very few have been to OIF/OEF and desert storm. I thank every man or woman for their service that came before me, and when I’m older, ill thank the young ones for standing up for us when no one else would. The first things I got coming home from OIF was a warm smile, firm handshake and I laid in the grass for about 5 minutes. That was a beautiful day. To say every soldier needs counseling for a minimum time is assinine. Maybe, just maybe, the army should make the spouses go to counseling.

  • Daisy

    It doesn’t matter what we think about the war, it only matters that we help those soldiers who need it. Regardless of what they have done or what the liberal media makes us believe is happening over there, all that matters is that we help a human being who is stressed enough to harm themselves. Would we even know the signs of a suicidal person in our own home? We should all be educated and ready to deal. Yes, war is hell, but reigining down more judgement isn’t going to help.

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