News Release

Veteran Suicide and Moral Injury


MATTHEW HOH, matthew_hoh at
Hoh is a senior fellow with the Center for International Policy. He just wrote the piece “And the Armies That Remained Suffer’d: Veterans, Moral Injury and Suicide” for CounterPunch. He was in the Marines and was in the Iraq and Afghan wars.

Hoh writes that Veterans Administration “data shows among veterans that had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, those in the youngest cohort, i.e. those most likely to have seen combat, had suicide rates, again adjusted for age and sex, 4-10 times higher than their civilian peers. …

“The answer to this question of veteran suicide is simply that there is a clear link between combat and suicide. This link has been confirmed over and over again in peer reviewed research by the VA and U.S. universities. In a 2015 meta-analysis by the University of Utah National Center for Veteran Studies, researchers found 21 of 22 previously conducted peer reviewed studies investigating the link between combat and suicide confirmed a clear relationship between the two. …

“As early as 1991, the VA identified the best predictor of suicide in Vietnam veterans as being ‘intensive combat related guilt.’ In the aforementioned meta-analysis of studies examining the relationship of combat and suicide by the University of Utah, multiple studies speak to the importance of ‘guilt, shame, regret, and negative self-perceptions’ in the suicidal ideation of combat veterans.”