Monday, May 01, 2006

Army Suicides Increase

An AP article that ran in USA Today a week ago on Army suicides.

Quite a tradeoff--fewer desertions, more suicides. Though obviously the ratio is not one to one.

Army suicides hit highest level since 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of U.S. Army soldiers who took their own lives increased last year to the highest total since 1993, despite a growing effort by the Army to detect and prevent suicides.

In 2005, a total of 83 soldiers committed suicide, compared with 67 in 2004, and 60 in 2003--the year U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq. Four other deaths in 2005 are being investigated as possible suicides but have not yet been confirmed. The totals include active duty Army soldiers and deployed National Guard and Reserve troops.

"Although we are not alarmed by the slight increase, we do take suicide prevention very seriously," said Army spokesman Col. Joseph Curtin.

"We have increased the number of combat stress teams, increased suicide prevention and training, and we are working very aggressively to change the culture so that soldiers feel comfortable coming forward with their personal problems in a culture where historically admitting mental health issues was frowned upon," Curtin said.

Of the confirmed suicides last year, 25 were soldiers deployed to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- which amounts to 40% of the 64 suicides by Army soldiers in Iraq since the conflict began in March 2003.

Read the whole article here.


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