Shocking: U.S. Troops Average One Suicide a Day
In 2011, suicide rates in the U.S. military reached a staggering level of one per day: 154 active-duty troops committed suicide in the first 155 days of the year, representing the fastest increase in troop suicides over the past decade.
According to the Associated Press and Pentagon statistics:
The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan — about 50 percent more.
The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase. And it’s more than the 136.2 suicides that the Pentagon had projected for this period based on the trend from 2001-11. This year’s January-May total is up 25 percent from two years ago, and it is 16 percent ahead of the pace for 2009, which ended with the highest yearly total thus far.
Suicide rates leveled off in 2010 and 2011. The reasons for the increase in suicides are unclear:
Among explanations, studies have pointed to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription medications and personal financial problems. Army data suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial proportion of Army suicides are committed by soldiers who never deployed.
Rates of sexual assault, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence are also rising among U.S. troops.