In the first eight days of 2010, eight Army soldiers took their own lives. In 2009, the Army saw 160 confirmed or suspected suicides among their active-duty personnel. These numbers are despite the Army’s anti-suicide campaign launched in 2009. In January of 2009, 29 Army soldiers killed themselves. Conversely, there were 15 soldiers killed in combat that month.
In response to the tragedies the Army began this year with, commanders were instructed to have face-to-face contact with GIs to remind them not only of their value to the Army, but of their own self-worth. Further, all leaders were told to pay special attention to certain groups of soldiers, such as those moving installations.
While the Army has not released any concrete reasons or actions triggering this recent rash of suicides, they do believe these suicides may be linked to:
- Lengthy separations;
- Fractured relationships due to these lengthy separations; and
- A soldier’s connection to the Army.
The Army’s suicide rate has doubled since 2005 and is currently measuring at 23 soldiers out of every 100,000 taking their own lives. The current civilian rate is about 20 per 100,000. Although no specific numbers were given, and despite the first eight days of this year, the Army’s rate for suicides is far less than it was January 2009 according to a January 8th Memo.
Learn more about the current suicide crisis facing the Army.
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