Army Reserve and National Guard Suicides Double; Active Duty Down
Saturday, January 22, 2011
The good news for U.S. Army officials is that suicides among active-duty soldiers have gone down a little. The bad news is that suicides of Army Reserve and National Guard troops more than doubled.
From 2009 to 2010, the number of Reserve and Guard personnel who killed themselves jumped from 65 to 145. Over the same period, suicides among those on active duty declined by six, or 4% (from 162 to 156).
In discussing possible causes of suicide, General Peter Chiarelli, the Army vice chief of staff, said the policy of redeploying soldiers again and again has produced the same amount of stress that a civilian would endure over an 80-year lifespan. However, he noted that half of the Reserve suicides had never deployed, and that relationship problems and alcohol and drug abuse were also contributing factors.
Chiarelli added that he believes the new policy, of having active Army units remain at home for at least two years between deployments, will make a “huge” difference in the suicide rate.
The Army has only 106 psychiatrists on active duty, but also employs 3,804 contract psychiatrists.
Army Reserve and Guard Suicide Rates More Than Doubled Last Year (by Bob Brewin, Government Executive)
Guard, Reserve Suicides Spike in 2010 (by Bryant Jordan, Military.com)
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