Thursday, January 31, 2008

Soldier Suicides at Record Level

A record number of soldiers have attempted suicide in the past year. And there appears to be a link between the climbing rate and long lasting wars.

The Army began keeping suicide records in 1980. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives. That's 20% more than 2006.

Attempted suicides -- or cases of soldiers injuring themselves -- shot up from just 350 cases in 2002 to around 2,100 last year. From the Washington Post:
The Army was unprepared for the high number of suicides and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among its troops, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued far longer than anticipated. Many Army posts still do not offer enough individual counseling and some soldiers suffering psychological problems complain that they are stigmatized by commanders. Over the past year, four high-level commissions have recommended reforms and Congress has given the military hundreds of millions of dollars to improve its mental health care, but critics charge that significant progress has not been made.

The U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan contains the numbers. The Post got a copy of the plan before it was set for release. (WaPo)

1 comment:

tumbleweed said...

I read about this the other day and as a parent sending 2 sons in the military in the last 2 months I'm concerned about it.The government won't do much about addressing the problem unless they are shamed into it. We need an exit plan to get out of Iraq.