U.S. Army suicides to set new record - People's Daily Online
November 18, 2009
The number of U.S. Army's suspected suicide cases has reached 140 by far and was expected to reach a new record this year, said a general on Tuesday.
"We are almost certainly going to end the year higher than last year," said Army vice chief of staff Peter Chiarelli at a press conference.
According to Chiarelli, the Army had registered 140 suspected cases among active duty soldiers and 71 suspected suicides by service members no longer on active duty. There was 140 active-duty suicides reported for all of 2008, a record high since 1980.
Army officers have not pinpointed specific reasons for soldiers' suicide, the general admitted, but have gained a better understanding of traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress as main factors.
Despite rising numbers, the general said that his troops had taken promising measures to prevent suicide, including launching of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program and the Suicide Prevention Task Force, and already made some progress.
"We are making progress," he said. "The general trend line, with he exception of a couple of months, has been down. If you were to ask me the single reason why I think we're starting to make progress, it's leader involvement across the entire force."