US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans

From The Guardian. – R. T.

US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans

Last year, more active-duty soldiers killed themselves than died in combat. And after a decade of deployments to war zones, the Pentagon is bracing for things to get much worse

William Busbee 

William Busbee was in many ways the archetype of the US soldier, and his mother feels he was let down by the army he loved so much. Photograph: Libby Busbee

Libby Busbee is pretty sure that her son William never sat through or read Shakespeare’s Macbeth, even though he behaved as though he had. Soon after he got back from his final tour of Afghanistan, he began rubbing his hands over and over and constantly rinsing them under the tap.

“Mom, it won’t wash off,” he said.

“What are you talking about?” she replied.

“The blood. It won’t come off.”

On 20 March last year, the soldier’s striving for self-cleanliness came to a sudden end. That night he locked himself in his car and, with his mother and two sisters screaming just a few feet away and with Swat officers encircling the vehicle, he shot himself in the head.

At the age of 23, William Busbee had joined a gruesome statistic. In 2012, for the first time in at least a generation, the number of active-duty soldiers who killed themselves, 177, exceeded the 176 who were killed while in the war zone. To put that another way, more of America’s serving soldiers died at their own hands than in pursuit of the enemy.

Soldier suicides Credit: Guardian graphicsAcross all branches of the US military and the reserves, a similar disturbing trend was recorded. In all, 349 service members took their own lives in 2012, while a lesser number, 295, died in combat….

to read more, click on link below …

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/01/us-military-suicide-epidemic-veteran


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