Army Suicides in January Surpass Combat Deaths

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2009 2:47 PM CST
The body of a soldier is escorted by a US Army Honor Guard at his funeral.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As many as 24 US Army soldiers took their own lives in January, an enormous rise over previous years, the Army Times reports. The deaths of seven soldiers have been confirmed as suicides, while 17 pending cases will likely get the same designation, the AP reports. If that happens, the death toll from suicide will surpass that of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan for January.

The figure is 6 times higher than in 2008, and 8 times higher than in 2004. 128 soldiers were deemed suicides in 2008, the highest rate in nearly 30 years; if 15 pending cases are classified as such, it will be the highest on record. The Army has ordered service-wide training in suicide recognition and prevention that will last from this month until June.