American army officials revealed there was a record number of suicides in 2007 and that combat has filled the cups of many soldirs to the brim causing them to seek the way out of death. According to Col. Elspeth Ritchie, psychiatric consultnat to the Army Surgeon General, “the Army is very, very busy, and perhaps we haven’t taken care of each other as much as we’d like to.” Of those who committed suicide in 2007, 26% had never been deployed, another 24% had deployed once, while 7% had deployed more than once. Another 43% killed themselves after returning home. Overall, there were 117 active duty suicides in 2007 which represents an increase of 13 over 2006.
The numbers were up in other categories as well. In 2006, eighty of the soldiers who attempted suicide had seen others killed in combat, the 2007 figure was 93. In 2006, 39 of those who attempted suicide had killed others in combat while the figure in 2007 was 54. The 2007 suicide numbers include 33 mobilized National guard soldiers.
The US army has hired an additional 180 mental health personnel to work with issues of stress in combat and stress after returning home. in terms of the overall figue of 30,000 wounded and 4,000 dead, the figure of 117 may appear low, but the cost of fighting in Iraq has yet to be fully calculated and the nation will not know that final figure for many years to come.