So far this year suicides have taken more lives of active-duty troops than actual combat in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press.
Military suicides are soaring in 2012 as the psychological toll of years of fighting was in Iraq and Afghanistan appears to have pushed many soldiers over the edge.
In some cases, that means suicide: There have been 154 of them so far this year, versus 130 in the year-ago period, an 18 percent jump. This year’s suicides add up to 50 percent more deaths than those killed in action in Afghanistan during the same period, AP reported.
And suicides aren’t the only problem that’s been plaguing the military. Soldiers have fallen victim to drug and alcohol abuse, and have been accused of domestic violence in a flurry of cases.
What the AP story didn’t mention is that many of the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have sustained concussions, brain injury, which also makes them more susceptible to depression — and suicide.
While some experts are pointing to factors such as post-traumatic stress disorder for causing the spike in suicides, AP pointed out that a good part of those deaths involve soldiers who haven’t even been sent overseas to battle.
Army brass are trying to make sense of the numbers and the reasons for this behavior. Let’s hope it finds some answers.