Military Suicides Hit Record Of 349 In 2012
We’ve noted before the problem of suicides among active duty service members, now we know that 2012 saw the highest number of such deaths ever recorded:.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year, far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan, and some private experts are predicting the dark trend will grow worse this year.
The Pentagon has struggled to deal with the suicides, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others have called an epidemic. The problem reflects severe strains on military personnel burdened with more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over the prospect of being forced out of a shrinking force.
Pentagon figures obtained Monday by The Associated Press show that the 349 suicides among active-duty troops last year were up from 301 the year before and exceeded the Pentagon’s own internal projection of 325. Statistics alone do not explain why troops take their own lives, and the Pentagon’s military and civilian leaders have acknowledged that more needs to be done to understand the causes.
Last year’s total is the highest since the Pentagon began closely tracking suicides in 2001. It exceeds the 295 Americans who died in Afghanistan last year, by the AP’s count.
Some in Congress are pressing the Pentagon to do more.
Is this the end product of ten years of endless war and repeated deployments? I don’t know, but these are 349 lives that should still be among us. It strikes me that we owe it to all of our men and women in service to figure out what we can do to stop this and to help people who apparently have come so far to the end of their rope that their rope that they feel compelled to take their own life.