Lack of oversight contributes to Army suicides

The Army reported that 143 active duty soldiers killed themselves in the last year, the highest number since the statistics started being kept in 1980. This year’s numbers are on track to break that unfortunate record. Gregg Zoroya of USA Today reports that an Army investigator blames at least part of this rise to a lack of day-to-day oversight by commanders accustomed to leading amidst the intensity of the battlefield rather than the less-obvious perils of the barracks.

The investigator’s solution is simple: commanders need to interact with their troops more, to keep in touch and keep their eyes out for risk factors.

Zoroya also noted another contributing factor to the climbing suicide rate:

Along with soldiers who engage in risky behaviors, McGuire says, the Army has a greater number of troops who entered the service with pre-existing anxiety or depression or who have stopped taking their behavioral medication in order to meet entrance requirements.

Soldiers concerned they may be at risk can try this online mental health self-assessment designed specifically for members of the armed services.

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