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29 Jan, 2009 18:54

U.S. army suicide highest in three decades

U.S. defense officials say suicide among U.S. soldiers increased dramatically last year and has reached the highest since the beginning of the survey in 1980.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced figures on Thursday, stating that 128 soldiers committed suicide in 2008 and 15 cases of suspected suicides in the Army were registered.

The year before, in 2007, the number of suicides was 115 while 2,100 attempted suicides were registered. This meant that every day five servicemen tried to kill themselves.

This figure was less than one attempt a day before simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. Today, American troops are under unprecedented stress because of repeated and lengthy tours abroad which makes the U.S. Department of Defense consider war experience as an additional impact to the personal stress and stance abuse problems that usually push people to committing suicide.

It must be noted, though, that many suicides in the Army took place after the troops returned to the U.S.

The report says that the U.S. Army’s confirmed rate of suicides is already higher than national statistics, 20.2 per 100,000 against 19.5 per 100,000.

This sad news has led many to think that the Army should be expected to take unprecedented steps towards tackling the problem, particularly in devoting much more attention towards war veterans.