Saturday, April 22, 2006

Army suicide rate climbs.

According to the U.S. Army, the number of soldiers who took their own lives last year rose to the highest level in thirteen years. In 2005, 83 soldiers committed suicide, compared to 67 in 2004 and 60 in 2003. The rate is especially high among combat troops and those deployed overseas. Stress, failed relationships, long deployments and financial problems were common among suicide victims. According to an Army spokesman, Col. Joseph Curtin, "Although we are not alarmed by the slight increase, we do take suicide prevention very seriously."

Not alarmed by the "slight" increase? That, in a nutshell, is the Army's problem. Denial. When I was in the Army, they didn't exactly encourage you to come forward and talk about your feelings and personal problems. We need to be doing much, much more for these young soldiers, who are sacrificing so much for all of us, not just when they are on active duty, but when they leave the service, as well. Oh, and the Colonel who isn't alarmed....you need to find a new job because you're a lousy spokesman and a deplorable leader!

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