The report acknowledges that the physical and psychological demands on our volunteer fighting forces are huge. Between 2005 and 2009 alone, more than 1,100 soldiers committed suicide. That is one soldier dying by suicide every 36 hours. The report notes that the rate of suicide deaths in the Army has more than doubled.
The task force mentions numerous research reports that have documented the psychological and emotional injuries — “the hidden wounds of war” — that have devastated many military members and their families. Personnel who are deploying — as well as those left behind — are under stress because of an imbalance created by inadequate manpower. Consequently, military personnel are not getting enough downtime with their families and communities before they are required to return to combat.
Based on their own findings, the DOD task force believes that unless effective prevention measures are put into place, the rate of suicide deaths will continue to rise.
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