Soldiers hospitalized for suicidal thoughts increased 7000 percent over past five years: study
by Nina Mandell, nydailynews.com
May 6th 2011 12:22 PM
The rate of soldiers hospitalized for having suicidal thoughts has soared a staggering 7,000% in the last five years, a new Pentagon report says.
The report, which covers the period from the fourth year troops were in Afghanistan and the third year they were in Iraq, is the latest troubling survey on potential suicides in the military.
* The Army reported last month there in March had been eight reported potential suicides involving soldiers who were not on active duty, and seven potential suicides among active duty soldiers.
* A study released in March found the suicide rate for female soldiers tripled while at war between 2004 and 2009 compared to soldiers who were not overseas.
* Five months ago, another survey found suicides had doubled among National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from 65 in 2009 to 145 in 2010.
"Suicide is a symptom of a bigger problem," Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the army's top anti-suicide advocate told Time Magazine.
"It is rarely based on a single factor, but from work, health, finance and relationship problems."
The Pentagon says a new diagnostic code and greater awareness of the problem could be helping to drive the numbers higher.
The Defense Department has focused on improving suicide prevention among its troops who suffer from high rates of mental illness following their returns from war zones.
"Efforts to improve suicide prevention awareness, education and support that is readily available to all members of the Army family continue to be of paramount importance," said Col. Chris Philbrick, deputy director of the Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction Task Force.
"Informed and engaged leaders at every level help foster a sense of responsibility in soldiers, Army civilians and family members."
"Leaders will reduce the stigma associated with seeking help by promoting positive behavioral health opportunities that include physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual well-being."
Original Page: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/05/06/2011-05-06_soldiers_hospitalized_for_suicidal_thoughts_increased_7000_percent_over_past_fiv.html
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