In the years since the War on Terror began, suicide has become an ever-present shadow, looming over America’s veteran community.  While the oft-referenced 22 veteran suicides per day isn’t quite accurate, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the corrected figured barely indicates any improvement.  In truth, an average of just about 20 veterans choose to end their own lives each day, and no amount of suicide prevention training can seem to make a dent in that figure.

A number of studies, both funded by the Pentagon and elsewhere, have attempted to bring sense to this tragic development, and a great deal has indeed been learned.  Deployments and the horrors of combat don’t seem to be the root cause of the problem, as non-combat veteran suicide rates continue to pace those of veterans that saw action.  Instead, it seems a number of factors come into play – so many, in fact, that it has proven extremely difficult to establish a profile of the type of veteran that may be susceptible to suicidal ideations.  If you ever wore a pair of general issue boots, you would seem to be at risk.

Active duty suicides, like those of their veteran counterparts, not only continue to befuddle researchers, but pose a serious threat to overall mission readiness.  A whopping 20% of all suicide deaths in the United States come from military personnel and veterans, a comparably much smaller demographic of the total population. The only bright side to this epidemic, is that there is a breadth of data to pull from.

A new Department of Defense study may have identified at least one risk factor that could increase the chances a Soldier, Sailor, or Marine may choose to end their own life. By studying 9,512 suicide attempts by enlisted U.S. Army soldiers between 2004 and 2009, a trend began to emerge.