Army Lapses Led to Suicide of Mentally Ill Soldier

Rate at all-time high in Iraq, Afghanistan
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 20, 2007 12:50 PM CST
Chris Scheuerman reviews a copy of a medical questionnaire in Sanford, N.C., Monday, Nov. 12, 2007, that his son Jason answered before he took his life while serving as a soldier in the U.S. Army in Iraq....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Depressed and constantly reprimanded by his superiors, Pfc. Jason Scheuerman shot himself in his Iraq barracks in 2005—raising serious questions about how the military handles mental illness, the AP reports. Scheuerman's was one of a record 152 Army suicides in Afghanistan and Iraq, but his parents had to fight a reluctant military to piece together what led to their son’s death.

Documents and interviews showed that Scheuerman seemed “out of touch with reality,” and showed “depression-like symptoms." An army chaplain watched him “bobbing his head on the muzzle” of his gun, but a psychologist sent him back, suggesting he could be exaggerating illness to avoid duty. "The people that I trusted with the safety of my son killed him," says Scheuerman's dad.