Army Suicides Hit Record High

Army expected to announce new study of post-combat stress
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2009 2:07 AM CST
Soldiers on patrol in Iraq. Army statistics show a record number of soldiers committed suicide last year.   (AP Photo/US Army, Sgt. Eric C. Hein, HO)
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(Newser) – A record 128 US soldiers committed suicide last year, and an additional 15 are suspected of taking their own lives, CNN reports. The previous record was set in 2007. In response to the latest figures, the Army is expected to announce new studies of post-combat stress and why its suicide-prevention programs aren't working. Army officials have long attributed suicides to stress linked to personal problems, such as financial and substance-abuse issues.

The father of a Marine who committed suicide after returning from Iraq said his son was unable to get adequate treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs. "The intervention doesn't appear to be there," he said. The night before his 23-year-son hanged himself he "asked if he could sit in my lap and we could rock," his dad said. "The next time I held him in my lap was when I was taking him down from the rafters." (Read more US Army stories.)