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U.S. military suicide rate on the rise in recent yearscomment (0)

October 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — The number of people in the U.S. military who have committed suicide has increased dramatically in recent years, with the Army alone battling a suicide rate that doubled between 2005 and 2009. At Fort Hood in Texas, officials have documented 14 confirmed suicides and six suspected suicides among soldiers so far this year, including four suspected suicides during one weekend at the end of September. Fort Hood had 11 suicides last year and 14 total in 2008.

Sara Horn, a military wife who founded a support network called Wives of Faith, said the suicides are directly related to a problem of the heart. “When the heart has no hope, it’s very hard to see a future. This should serve only as one more wakeup call, one more plea to our local churches and believers to reach out to our military and their families,” Horn said. “We know the hope we have in Jesus. We have to share that hope with others.” More than 1,000 troops have killed themselves during the past five years, driving the Army suicide rate above the civilian rate for the first time since the Vietnam War.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the problem is going to get worse before it gets better as more soldiers return from war. An independent report ordered by Congress found the Pentagon’s suicide prevention efforts inadequate, with fewer soldiers dying in combat than by their own actions, including suicides and accidental deaths brought on by high-risk behavior.

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