Bruce E. Levine, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic, said that in February 2009, “Americans heard about a dramatic rise in suicides among U.S. soldiers.” Army statistics, which include the Army Reserve and the National Guard, confirmed 128 suicides (with 15 more deaths under investigation). Suicides for the Marines also increased, with 41 in 2008, up from 33 in 2007 and 25 in 2006.
The Army’s largest post saw a record-high number of soldiers kill themselves in 2010 despite a mental health effort aimed at reversing the trend.
The Army says 22 soldiers have either killed themselves or are suspected of doing so last year at its post at Fort Hood in Texas, twice the number from 2009.
Antipsychotics are the top-selling class of drugs in the United States, with sales of $14.6 billion in 2009 alone. Their use in children and adolescents in the United States is increasingly prevalent — and children in foster care are among the most likely to be medicated.
The use of drugs to treat conditions like depression, dementia, autism bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other personality disorders has steadily risen, but researchers says second generation antipsychotics cost millions, may not even help patients, and have serious side effects that should be considered, including weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.