The United States Army has been attempting over the past few years to address issues that lead members of the military to kill themselves, but the latest figures indicate success is far from an accomplished goal. As many as 121 soldiers commtted suicide in 2007 wich is an increase of 20% over the figures for 2006. The number who have tried to commit sicide or injured themselves for some other reason jumped six-fold in the last several years– from 350 in 2002 to about 2,100 incidents last year. These incidents come despite a host of efforts to improvemental health care that arises from being deployed and redeployed over an extended period of time. According to Col. Elspeth Ritchie, psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general, “We have been perturbed by the rise despite all of our efforts.”
Statistically, the rate of suicide per 100,000 men has risen from a low of 9.1% in 2001 to a high of 17.5% in 2006. Most probably long extended separation from spouse, children and family has been a factor resulting in attempts at suicide. Orindarily, people don’t attempt suicide as a result of direct encounter with combat, but it more often occurs during periods of depression brought on by personal and family issues.
Senator John McCain recently said American troops might be in the Middle East for about another “100 years.” If so, we can expect continued mental health issues.