Twenty-one active-duty soldiers are believed to have committed suicide in May, according to a statement released by the Army yesterday. That figure is the most since last June.
There were only seven suspected soldier suicides in March, but that number jumped to 16 in April before rising again in May. Last year, the Army reported 156 potential active-duty suicides. So far in 2011, there have been 67 suspected or confirmed suicides, leaving the service on a similar pace to 2010.
While Army leadership has been very public about its suicide prevention efforts, launching myriad programs and initiatives as the problem became starkly apparent in recent years, an investigation published last week by Stars and Stripes demonstrated how failures of ground-level leadership and high-level bureaucracy have doomed troubled soldiers.
If you missed it, it’s absolutely worth your time to go back and read “One Army, two failures.”
In the two-day series, reporter Megan McCloskey recounts the New Year's Day suicide of Spc. Brushaun Anderson, who had been relentlessly harassed by his superiors in Iraq. And reporter Bill Murphy Jr. tells how the horrors of an Afghanistan deployment sent Pvt. Jacob Andrews into a downward spiral from which he could not recover, a process hastened after the Army chaptered him out despite signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and possible traumatic brain injury.