July 12, 2012

Suicidal soldiers

One active-duty service member in US military commits suicide every day.

US military suicides are at the highest rate since the US invaded Afghanistan more than a decade ago. The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of this year surpass the US forces killed in action in Afghanistan by about 50 per cent, according to the Pentagon. Studies attribute the increase to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress and misuse of prescription drugs. While the department of defense says it is committed to improving mental health care, the rate jumped 18 per cent from last year.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak with Karen Kanefield (@AASuicidology) of the American Association of Suicidology, Dr. David Rudd of the National Center for Veterans’ Studies and Kim Ruocco (@TAPS4America) of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

What do you think? What’s behind the rising number of US military suicides? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #AJStream.