US Army Suicides up 20 Percent in 2007
More American soldiers than ever before are intentionally injuring themselves or committing suicide, as the war in Iraq and conflict in Afghanistan continues without an end in sight.
Interestingly, last year's 121 suicides were more than double the number reported in 2001, prior to September 11th.
As many as 121 Army soldiers committed suicide in 2007, a jump of more than 20 percent over the year before, officials said Thursday.
The rise came despite numerous efforts over the past year to improve the mental health of a force stressed by a longer-than-expected war in Iraq and the most deadly year yet in the now six-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.
Internal briefing papers prepared by the Army's psychiatry consultant earlier this month show there were 89 confirmed suicides last year and 32 deaths that are suspected suicides and still under investigation.
More than a quarter of the combined total -- about 34 -- died while serving a tour of duty in Iraq, an increase from 27 in Iraq the previous year, according to the preliminary figures.
The report also showed an increase in the number of attempted suicides and self-injuries -- some 2,100 in 2007 compared to less than 1,500 the previous year and less than 500 in 2002.
The total of 121 suicides last year, if all are confirmed, would be more than double the 52 reported in 2001, before the September 11 attacks prompted the Bush administration to launch its counter-terror war.