The suicide rate in American active military personnel has increased this year. According to military sources that there had been 154 suicides among active duty troops. That number represents an 18 percent increase over the 130 active-duty military suicides for the same period in 2011. There were 123 suicides from January to early June in 2010, and 133 during that period in 2009, the Pentagon said.By contrast, there were 124 American military fatalities in Afghanistan as of June 1 this year, according to the Pentagon.
Suicide rates of military personnel and combat veterans have risen sharply since 2005, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified. Recently, the Pentagon established a Defense Suicide Prevention Office.On Friday, Cynthia Smith, a Defense Department spokeswoman, said the Pentagon had sought to remind commanders that those who seek counseling should not be stigmatized.
“This is a troubling issue, and we are committed to getting our service members the help they need,” she said. “I want to emphasize that getting help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength.”
In a letter to military commanders last month, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said that “suicide prevention is a leadership responsibility,” and added, “Commanders and supervisors cannot tolerate any actions that belittle, haze, humiliate or ostracize any individual, especially those who require or are responsibly seeking professional services.”
But veterans’ groups said Friday that the Pentagon had not done enough to moderate the tremendous stress under which combat troops live, including coping with multiple deployments.Dr. Stephen Xenakis, a retired Army brigadier general and practicing psychiatrist, told the AP, the suicide rate “is a sign in general of the stress the Army has been under over the 10 years of war. We’ve seen before that these signs show up even more dramatically when the fighting seems to go down and the Army is returning to garrison.”
No one seems to have a good explanation for the increase. Although data suggests that troops with multiple combat tours are more likely to commit suicide, a significant portion of the suicides were by soldiers who hadn’t deployed at all. Other explanations offered by the AP, based on recent studies, include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, drug abuse, and financial stress.
People also says that as long as American troops will stay in Afghanistan the rate of suicide will increase, because the forces are involved in a war where there is no visible enemy, they always expect that someone can from somewhere can attack on them so they remain in constant pressure and stress.
Ref:(Nytime, US foundation)