More soldier suicides than combat deaths in 2012
(STARS AND STRIPES) The Department of the Army also showed strains, with soldier suicides outnumbering combat-related deaths for the year.
Through November this year, potentially 303 active-duty, Reserve and National Guard soldiers took their own lives. In Afghanistan 212 soldiers were killed as of Dec. 7.
The trajectory for soldier suicides keeps getting worse.
With a month left in the year, the Army set a grim new record with 177 potential active-duty cases.
Last year, there were 165 confirmed suicides, which was also a record. Among Army Reserve and Guard soldiers potentially 126 took their own lives, up from 118 in all of 2011.
The numbers have increased despite a range of training and awareness programs instituted by the service in the last few years.
More measures may be on the way:
- A bipartisan group of 36 lawmakers is pushing for new rules allowing military commanders and mental health specialists to ask unstable troops whether they own any personal firearms; lawmakers from both the House and the Senate are working on a final compromise version of the legislation.
- Gun rights advocates have opposed the idea, saying it could lead to commanders intimidating some individuals into giving up personal weapons.