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Suicides in US military at 10-year high

Last Updated: Friday, June 8, 2012 - 14:05

Washington: Suicide cases are on the rise in the US military, according to statistics.

According to Pentagon statistics, in the first 155 days of 2012, there were 154 suicides among active troops, around 50 percent more than the number killed in action in Afghanistan.

Experts have said that the numbers reflect the burden of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Guardian reports.

The military is also struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other problems. Studies have pointed to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription drugs and personal financial problems as possible reasons for the increase in suicide cases.

Army data suggest that soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of killing themselves, although a substantial proportion of the deaths are among soldiers who have never been deployed. The total of 154 suicides reported so far this year compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase.

Jackie Garrick, head of the newly established Defence Suicide Prevention Office at the Pentagon, said the increase in suicides was worrying, adding that the weak economy could also be to blame.

Dr Stephen Xenakis, a retired brigadier general and psychiatrist, said the suicides reflected the level of tension as the US gradually leaves Afghanistan.

"It`s a sign of the stress the Army has been under over the 10 years of war," he said.


First Published: Friday, June 8, 2012 - 14:05
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