Suicide numbers among army personnel match those among civilians

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According to figures released recently by the Pentagon, for the first time since the Vietnam War suicide numbers among army personnel match those among civilians. Additionally, the growing number of army suicides is the highest that it has been in decades; 20.2 per 100,000, 128 suicides in 2008, were committed by both active and reserve army personal. These numbers may actually increase for 2008 after the completion of 15 investigations surrounding deaths of army personnel. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that discusses the implications of these numbers:

And January figures suggest the rate is accelerating. The Army has confirmed seven suicides last month and is investigating 17 additional suspicious deaths.

The final count is expected to surpass the number of combat deaths in January, which reached 16 among all branches of the military.

Although officials said 15-month deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan play a role in the suicide increase, they do not appear to be the whole story. Only about a quarter of the suicides took place in the war zones.

The Army’s vice chief of staff has promised “to move quickly to do everything we can to reverse the very disturbing number of suicides we have.”

Last year, civilian mental health officials warned of a “gathering storm” of suicides among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medpage Today

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