Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Watch out if you are a female in army who was born in the spring or early summer.

This is a rather bleak subject but the following two articles both came to my attention today.

The Increase in Army Suicides Is Not 'Slight'

A letter to the Editor published Tuesday, May 2, 2006 in the Washington Post.

In an April 22 Washington in Brief item, an Army spokesman called the increase in soldiers' suicides from 60 in 2003 and 67 in 2004 to 83 in 2005 a "slight" increase. But in public health terms, this is an epidemic, representing a 30 percent rise.

This statistic fits with a striking increase reported last month in mental health care by U.S. veterans of the Iraq war. A third of veterans are seeking psychiatric help, but military authorities refer only 5 percent of those on active duty for such evaluation.

Our soldiers must learn to kill and destroy. They endure difficult conditions in Iraq, and they have no say in their assignments. Yet they are expected to return home to resume civilian status without incident.

The job of mental health professionals is to address such serious internal conflicts, suicide being only one result. Post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, family dysfunction and antisocial behavior are others.



The writer is a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University's School of Medicine .

If you are born in April May or June you may be at a far greater risk of committing suicide than if you are born during seasons other than spring/early summer according to a British study reported by BBC News. Here are some excerpts from the article.

"Scientists have established seasonal birth trends for a number of diseases including some cancers, heart disease and brain tumours.

Other research has found more patients with schizophrenia, brain degenerating disease Alzheimer's, epilepsy and sleep disorder narcolepsy are born in December than any other month.

Equally, mental illnesses like depression and mood disorders and alcohol dependence are more frequent among those born during the spring and summer.

And 10% of suicides in England and Wales occur among people with these disorders."

And risks for women are even greater.

Among women, nearly 30% more suicides were committed by people born in the spring while among men the rate was nearly 14% higher than those born in the autumn.

Overall, the risk for people born in spring to early summer was increased by 17%.

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