SUICIDE SOLDIERS. The BBC reports that a study published recently by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health indicates that soldiers are more than twice as likely to commit suicide than the general civilian population.

Lead researcher Mark Kaplan, of Portland State University in Oregon, said doctors should "scrutinise veterans for signs of suicidal behaviour or thoughts and, if needed, they should intervene to make sure these patients do not have access to firearms." He said in general "there is inadequate mental health screening, and many of the doctors outside the VA (Veterans Affairs) system are not trained to deal with these sorts of problems and don't have the time to treat them."

This is one of many studies that are slowly piling up as evidence that incoming Iraq and Afghanistan vets will face unique mental needs that the VA isn't necessarily equipped to deal with. Treating mental illness in returned soldiers will be a cost of war for which we'll be paying for years to come.

-- Kay Steiger

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