Suicides among Army enlistees at 26 year high.

The following news article more or less speaks for itself:

Army suicides at highest level in 26 years – USATODAY.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday, found there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers during 2006, up from 88 the previous year and the highest since the 102 suicides in 1991 at the time of the Persian Gulf War.

The suicide rate for the Army has fluctuated over the past 26 years, from last year’s high of 17.3 per 100,000 to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001.

Last year, “Iraq was the most common deployment location for both (suicides) and attempts,” the report said.

This doesn’t seem to me like it should be a big surprise. These folks are, after all, serving in a war that is pretty depressing even for those of us who aren’t participating in it. I can only imagine how depressing it must be to actually have to fight it. I would also tend to think that suicides would go up anytime there’s an actual war taking place. It just demonstrates how important it is that our troops receive as much health care, including mental health care, as we can manage.

It’s just a shame that more often than not admitting you have a mental health problem is a sure way to have the Army punish you:

As NPR reported last year, numerous soldiers from Fort Carson who have come back from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious mental health problems have been kicked out of the Army with few or no benefits. Those reports prompted a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, as well as officials at the Pentagon, to investigate Fort Carson. In turn, the public attention pressured commanders to pledge that returning soldiers would get better treatment.

It is unconscionable that we require our soldiers not only to fight an illegitimate war, but to go through multiple mandatory deployments and then when they show signs of health issues, particularly mental health, we kick them to the curb like so much trash.

Support our troops! At least until they’re broken and no longer useful to us it would seem.

3 thoughts on “Suicides among Army enlistees at 26 year high.

  1. When the chicken hawks say “support our troops”, what they actually mean is “support the supply of expendable IED fodder”.

    I’m sorry for the soldiers and their families. And not to forget about all the Iraqi victims.

  2. This might not seem serious, but it might work:
    If the army more easily allowed romance to take place within the troops, maybe they’d stay alive for their commitment to each other, and fight for each other’s safety and the chance to meet again. It might increase the attatchment a soldier has to his life and his unit

    Whilst mental health care generally needs a good overhaul and attitude change, I don’t believe it’s possible for someone to merely give you the answer to make it all better, you have to find it yourself. Stuff like emotional appeasement is only delaying the actual dealing with the issues, though perhaps in some cases to a time and situation when it’d be easier.

  3. [snark]
    Hmmm…the care packages from Stephen Baldwin don’t seem to be working now do they?  You’d think that, given the wide-scale infiltration of the military by the Christian Right, the higher purpose of this “Crusade” would have morale soaring.

    Yep.  Better blame this problem on Clinton, along with everything else…
    [/snark]

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