Suspected Army Suicides Set Record
By Gregg Zoroya,USA Today ,Posted: 2007-12-13 12:14:35
(Dec. 13) – A record number of soldiers – 109 – have killed themselves this year, according to Army statistics showing confirmed or suspected suicides.
The deaths occur as soldiers serve longer combat deployments and the Army spends $100 million on support programs.
“Soldiers, families and equipment are stretched and stressed,” Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, told Congress last month.
The Army provided suicide statistics to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. Her staff shared them with USA TODAY.
Those numbers show 77 confirmed suicides Army-wide this year through Nov. 27 and 32 other deaths pending final determination as suicides.
The Army updated those statistics Wednesday, confirming 85 suicides, including 27 in Iraq and four in Afghanistan.
The highest number of Army suicides recorded since 1990 was 102 in 1992 – a period when the service was 20% larger than today.
A total of 109 suicides this year would equal a rate of 18.4 per 100,000, the highest since the Army started counting in 1980. The civilian suicide rate was 11 per 100,000 in 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I want to say I’m surprised” by the suicide increase, she says. “But when we’re not doing everything we can to deal with mental health, when we know the Army is under such stress, it’s not a surprise. It has to be a wakeup call.”
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