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Suicides Among U.S. Troops Now At Almost One A Day

The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase.

Suicides have skyrocketed among America's troops, averaging nearly one a day this year, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

There have been 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year, according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press.

Suicides had leveled off in 2010 and 2011, so this year's upswing has caught some officials by surprise, The Associated Press reported.

Studies point to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription medications and personal financial problems as contributors. Army data suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial proportion of Army suicides are committed by soldiers who never deployed, according to the report.

The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase, according to the report.

Jackie Garrick, head of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office at the Pentagon, said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press that the suicide numbers are troubling.

"We are very concerned at this point that we are seeing a high number of suicides at a point in time where we were expecting to see a lower number of suicides," she told The Associated Press. "What makes one person become suicidal and another not is truly an unknown.”

Dr. Stephen N. Xenakis, a retired Army brigadier general and a practicing psychiatrist, told The Associated Press that the suicides reflect high tension as the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan.

"It's a sign in general of the stress the Army has been under over the 10 years of war," he said in the interview. "We've seen before that these signs show up even more dramatically when the fighting seems to go down and the Army is returning to garrison."

According to the report, the Army has seen 80 suicides through June 3, with the Air Force next behind at 32.

Diana June 08, 2012 at 05:48 PM
This is so sad, bring them home. God Bless our troops and their families and thank you for my freedom and your sacrifice for that freedom.
J Carabine June 08, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Amen to that, although bringing them back home doesn't solve the problem. It is heart breaking the numbers :(, they need more help, less drugs and more monitoring while on drugs. Many are being covered up.
J Carabine June 08, 2012 at 11:31 PM
This Major General is trying to change things, I have talked with his wife several times. http://www.stripes.com/news/maj-gen-mark-graham-suicide-prevention-advocate-retires-1.177667
Lou Conley June 09, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Hmmmm... Even troops not deployed succumb to suicide? I don't think half of that is due to their own personal issues... UNITED STATES, fix your selfish ways and find better reasoning for your bs actions.
april lewis June 09, 2012 at 06:30 AM
Our military are taught not to have emotion. When something does happen it is very hard for them to talk about anything. If they speak to their military friends they are afraid of losing a status. Many times it's information they cannot exchange with friends and family so they just keep it to themselves. I have one marine son and another in the making. Family and friends support is very important to all military. Listening is very important during boot camp and while deployed overseas.
Kevin - Wildomar CA June 09, 2012 at 10:02 AM
I wonder what causes some of them to want to commit suicide? The majority never see combat. For them, it's a daily job. Usually administrative, logistics, equipment maintenance...... Still I'm very grateful for their service and would like to see an end to the few in despair.
Kelly June 09, 2012 at 02:40 PM
The Military doesn't care about our boys and girls (which is what they are going in). My son (Marine) went through very hard times while in, and they pretty much told him to go away and man up. He saw many horrible things in Iraq (two tours), was blown up his first tour, sent to hospital in Germany, in a wheel chair because of explosion, one of the workers at Germany based hospital refused to give him any food because he had no cash. What kind of treatment is that??? Hospital in San Diego sent him home telling him " Theres nothing wrong with you" yet he had a huge ball sticking out of his back from the explosion. The military has physically and mentally abused my son and no one would listen to him when he asked for help!!! NO ONE...I know he suffers with PTSD and depression, I see it daily.
Ken Mayes June 10, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Military personnel committing suicide is to be expected when we send our children to war. This has been known since the Civil War when records started to be kept, it becomes more of a problem when we go to a war with no real purpose. First we had Korea which ended in a stalemate then we had Vietnam which for all intents and purposes we lost, next came Iraq 1 in which we removed the occupiers from Kuwait and stopped halfway to Baghdad only to return 12 years later while at the same time also occupying Afghanistan again with no end game. All the work we supposedly did in Iraq is slowly being undone and power is being returned to one man rule and in Afghanistan you can't shoot back without getting permission from on high, just like the end of the Vietnam Conflict. Another similarity is the fact that since Korea we have been fighting an enemy that looks like everybody else around you. To top it all off we decide we have had enough and are going home which means many of these young people will be cut loose to a country in a depression where the prospect of gainful employment is just not there. So in the end you have young people who watched their friends die or become maimed fighting wars that accomplished nothing and then they come home and are faced with the prospect of long term unemployment. Sometimes life is a bitch and when your young its hard to handle.
Brad June 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Bad leadership is a very common complaint.

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