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Friday, December 22, 2006

Sucide is not painless

Stars and Stripes | Jeff Schogol | December 20, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. — Army suicide rates in Iraq and Kuwait doubled between 2004 and 2005 but were still below the 2003 rate, officials said Tuesday.

But Armywide, the 2005 saw the highest rate of soldiers taking their own lives since the beginning of the Iraq war, officials said.

Officials spoke about the suicides Tuesday as the Army released a report on the third Mental Health Advisory Team Survey of troops in Iraq. Data for 2006 is not yet available.

In 2005, the number of soldiers in the Iraq theater who killed themselves was 22, double the 2004 figure of 11, but below the 2003 figure of 25, Morales said.

Armywide, the number of reported suicides was 88 in 2005, up from 67 in 2004 and 78 in 2003, said Walter E. Morales, Army suicide prevention manager.

Of the 2005 downrange suicides, five had been deployed more than once, said Dr. (Col.) Edward Crandell, who was in charge of the survey team to Iraq.

Crandell said suicide rates can vary up to 40 percent in a given year.

Asked about the increase in suicides in Iraq and Kuwait between 2004 and 2005, Crandell replied, “There’s no way to predict suicides.”

The Army’s Surgeon General, Dr. (Lt. Gen.) Kevin Kiley, said he does not see a trend in the suicide rates.

“It only takes a few to shift the numbers,” Kiley said.

posted by Steve @ 12:55:00 AM

12:55:00 AM

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