Chart Of The Day

Combat Experiences

Mark Thompson looks at the relationship between combat experience and mental health problems:

After years of debating to what degree repeated deployments and other factors play a role in post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries—and the anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies they can trigger—this chart indicates that it is the number of combat events, more than the time deployed, that drives up mental-health problems (of course, the two tend to travel together, but not always).

The U.S. military has been plagued by epidemics of mental-health problems since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. The graphic shows that while troops can withstand several of what the Army calls “combat experiences,” their mental armor begins breaking down once they experience 10 or more such events.