In 2010, Number Of Suicides Doubled At Largest U.S. Military Base

NPR (Blog)
Eyder Peralta

USA Today reports today that even though the Army has boosted its psychiatric staff and services at the largest military base in the United States, it still hasn’t been able to curb the number of suicides:

The Army says 22 soldiers have either killed themselves or are suspected of doing so last year at its post at Fort Hood in Texas, twice the number from 2009.

That is a rate of 47 deaths per 100,000, compared with a 20-per-100,000 rate among civilians in the same age group and a 22-per-100,000 rate Army-wide.

“We are at a loss to explain the high numbers,” says Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, acting commander. “It’s personally frustrating.”

Last September, alone, four soldiers at Ft. Hood committed suicide in the course of one week. But suicide is, of course, not just a Ft. Hood problem. NPR’s Jamie Tarabay has been following the issue off an on over the past year. In June of 2010, she reported, the number of suicides in the military rivaled that of deaths on the battlefield.

USA Today reports that even though numbers have yet to be finalized, 2010 is bound to be a “record year for Army suicides.”