Ronald Kessler, a professor at Harvard Medical School and senior author of one of the studies was quoted in a Harvard press release saying, “The rate of major depression is five times as high among soldiers as civilians, intermittent explosive disorder six times as high, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) nearly 15 times as high.”
Kessler’s study also found almost 25% of active-duty, non-deployed Army soldiers surveyed tested positive for a mental disorder of some kind, and 11% within that subgroup also tested positive for more than one illness…
When it came to suicidal thoughts, one study found about 14% of soldiers had thought about taking their lives, while 5.3% had planned a suicide and 2.4% had actually made one or more attempts.
Overall, the three papers painted a disturbing picture of the military and mental illnesses. Although the causes for the rise in Army suicides still remain unknown the authors hoped their data might be useful to the military to help develop outreach programs for new soldiers as well as those who are already in the service.