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Archive for Saturday, April 22, 2006

Army suicides hit highest level since 1993

April 22, 2006

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— The number of U.S. Army soldiers who took their own lives increased last year to the highest total since 1993, despite a growing effort by the Army to detect and prevent suicides.

In 2005, a total of 83 soldiers committed suicide, compared with 67 in 2004 and 60 in 2003 - the year the U.S. invaded Iraq. Four other deaths in 2005 are being investigated as possible suicides but have not yet been confirmed. The totals include active duty Army soldiers and deployed National Guard and Reserve troops.

Of the confirmed suicides last year, 25 were soldiers deployed to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars - which amounts to 40 percent of the 64 suicides by Army soldiers in Iraq since the conflict began in March 2003.

The suicide rate for the Army has fluctuated routinely over the past 25 years, from a high of 15.8 per 100,000 in 1985 to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001. Last year it was nearly 13 per 100,000.

The Army recorded 90 suicides in 1993, with a suicide rate of 14.2 per 100,000.

The Army rate is higher than the civilian suicide rate for 2003, which was 10.8 per 100,000.

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