New Pentagon data show U.S. troops are killing themselves at the rate of nearly one a day so far in 2012, 18% above 2011′s corresponding toll. ”The continual rise in the suicide rate has frustrated all in the military,” says Elspeth “Cam” Ritchie, a retired Army colonel and chief psychiatric adviser to the Army surgeon general. “The rise in the suicide rate continues despite numerous recommendations from the Army and [Department of Defense] task forces.”
There were 154 U.S. military suicides in the first 155 days of 2012, the Associated Press reports, compared with 130 over the same period last year. That’s 50% more troops than were killed in action in Afghanistan, and the highest suicide toll in the U.S. military since 9/11.
Suicide — and the reasons for it — has been a vexing problem for the U.S. military ever since its rate began eclipsing that of the U.S. population. In 2010, the Army noted that “historically, the suicide rate has been significantly lower in the military than among the U.S. civilian population.”