Military suicides are no longer merely a problem. They are a crisis: despite all the efforts being made to stop soldiers from taking their own lives, the numbers keep rising. Last year, the Pentagon committed itself to new intervention programs and greater discussion of mental health in the ranks. But suicides jumped from 301 in 2011 to 349 in 2012. That’s compared to 295 Americans who died in combat.
There are two major categories of suicide victims: Some are those who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan and are suffering from post-traumatic stress. But a larger number are those who have yet to be deployed but may be under other stresses, such as financial needs or distance from family. Unfortunately, the military expects these numbers to grow, as budget cuts and the transition to civilian society lay on more demands.