US Army suicide rates reach yearly peak | Press TV

A file photo of a US Army funeral procession
US Army suicide rates have reached their highest level in a year both among active-duty soldiers and those who have not been deployed to conflict zones.

According to CNN, May 2011 was the worst month in terms of suicides and suicide attempts as the US military reported 21 cases of 'potential suicides' among active-duty soldiers.

The Pentagon announced the statistics on Thursday, adding that it is still trying to solve the problem.

The US military has also noted that it has difficulty finding a reason for the suicide hike.

April saw 16 potential suicides, which is more than twice the figure released for March.

One reason could be the fact that the military keeps redeploying many of its soldiers already diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, physicians conjecture.

"Today, soldiers and marines are doing multiple tours of duty with very little break time in between each deployment. Even though they are suffering from mental trauma, from PTSD, they are often redeployed to Iraq or Afghanistan without treatment," Dr. Dahlia Wasfi said in an interview with Press TV earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department's Pharmacoeconomic Center at Fort Sam Houston said last year that 20 percent of active-duty troops were taking prescribed psychotropic drugs including antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedative hypnotics.

The US military has blamed an increase in combat stress in Iraq and Afghanistan as a reason behind the higher suicide rates.

Furthermore, suicides have also increased among US soldiers who were not on active duty.

Figures released earlier this year by the US Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Peter Chiarelli, showed that the number of suicides among soldiers who have never been deployed to conflict zones had also increased sharply.

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