Army suicide rate reach new high

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Thirty-eight soldiers killed themselves in July, making it the worst month for suicides since the Army began releasing figures in 2009.

Credit:

Patrick Smith

According to Pentagon officials, 38 soldiers killed themselves in July, making it the worst month for suicides since the Army began releasing figures in 2009.

Twenty-six active-duty suicides occurred in July, with 12 suicides among National Guardsmen and reservists. According to the Washington Post, "The combined 38 Army suicides is twice the number of troops killed in Afghanistan this month."

Bruce Shahbaz, an Army analyst, noted that there are now more suicides among veteran soldiers than among younger GIs.  According to USA Today, "In 2012, there were 54 suicides among enlisted soldiers ranked sergeant or higher (not including officers ranked lieutenant or higher) compared with 46 among junior enlisted."

Forbes.com reported that Army analysts suspect the higher suicide rate may be due to troops struggling to reintegrate into civilian life.

Bruce Shahbaz, a medical analyst with the Army’s Suicide Prevention Task Force told Time’s Battleland blog, “Issues like minor depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances…begin to surface after a service member has been home for more than a year, and start to reintegrate with their family. I liken it to a pot that’s on simmer.”

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement to the Washington Post, “Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army. That said, I do believe suicide is preventable.”

The Army isn't alone in seeing a spike in suicide rates. According to the Associated Press, the Marine Corps had eight suicides in July, the highest monthly number so far this year.