US Troop Suicides Surge to One a Day

Rate hits 10-year high even as combat eases
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2012 4:33 AM CDT
Updated Jun 8, 2012 7:56 AM CDT
This chart shows suicides across the military since 2008.   (AP)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Military suicides have surged this year to reach their highest level in the last decade of war, despite the winding down of the conflict in Afghanistan, AP finds. The first 155 days of 2012 have seen 154 active-duty troops take their own lives, a rate just shy of one a day and a number that's about 50% more than have been killed in action in Afghanistan. The suicide rate is up 18% from last year. Many suicides are committed by troops who never deployed, but soldiers with multiple combat tours are more likely to kill themselves, according to Army data.

"It's a sign in general of the stress the Army has been under over the 10 years of war," says a retired Army brigadier general and practicing psychiatrist. "We've seen before that these signs show up even more dramatically when the fighting seems to go down and the Army is returning to garrison." He worries that despite efforts to encourage troubled troops to seek help, many commanders still don't grasp the nature of the problem. (Read more US military stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results  |