Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Army Efforts Fail to Reverse Suicide Epidemic

Despite making commitments to hire hundreds more psychiatrists and mental health professionals and to greatly increase screening of members of the military, the Army has failed to reverse the troubling trend of soldiers taking their own lives. The Pentagon announced late last week that July saw 38 soldiers complete suicides, more than double the number in June, and a record number for one month. This represented 26 active-duty and 12 reserve soldiers. Indicating how powerful an enemy suicide among members of the military is, the 38 suicides in July were more than double the number who were killed in the war in Afghanistan. Through the first seven months of this year, Army officials announced, 116 soldiers lost their lives to suicide. The Marine Corps acknowledge that it too is facing a troubling spike in suicides, with eight marines taking their own lives in July, and the year-to-date total surpassing that for all of last year. Several experts have indicated that the military might have to rethink its strategy for attacking its suicide crisis beyond hiring more clinicians and enhancing screening programs.

Psychiatric News has provided extensive coverage of the military's battle against suicide and research into the causes of the epidemic. Read some of that coverage here and here.

(image: Straight 8 photography/Shutterstock.com)


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