Among 'Civilian Soldiers,' Suicide Rate Explodes

86 non-active-duty National Guard soldiers have killed themselves this year

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 26, 2010 9:52 AM CST

(Newser) – In the first 10 months of 2010, 86 National Guard soldiers who were not on active duty took their own lives—a sad figure made even more depressing by the fact that it's nearly double the figure for all of 2009. Last year, 48 non-active-duty Guard soldiers killed themselves, and the reason for the jump in suicides among these "citizen soldiers" remains unclear, reports USA Today. The deputy commander of an Army task force focused on reducing suicides say investigations into their death have revealed factors ranging from home foreclosures to relationship problems to combat stress.

He notes that soldiers on active duty have easier access to mental health resources, which may be having a positive effect: Among active-duty Army soldiers and National Guard members, there have been 132 suicides for the year through October, compared to 140 in the same period last year.

Members of the Iowa National Guard 1133rd Transportation Co. bow during invocation.
Members of the Iowa National Guard 1133rd Transportation Co. bow during invocation.   (AP Photo/The Globe Gazette, Bryon Houlgrave)
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