Sunday, August 14, 2011

Veteran Suicide Rate Hits New High

After eight deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and a facing a ninth deployment back to Afghanistan, army ranger Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann kills himself. 'No way' that God would forgive him for what he'd seen, done, he told wife.

KOMO News:A soldier's widow says a fellow Army Rangers wouldn't do anything to help him before he took his own life - after eight deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army found Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann's body at a training area of Joint Base Lewis McChord a few weeks ago.

A spokesman for the base tells KOMO News that the nature of the death is still undetermined. But Staff Sgt. Hagemann's widow says her husband took his own life - and it didn't need to happen. "It was just horrible. And he would just cry," says Ashley Hagemann.

More U.S. soldiers and veterans have died from suicide than from combat wounds over the past two years. The U.S. Army suffered a record 32 suicides in July, the most since it began releasing monthly figures in 2009. That number includes 22 active duty soldiers and 10 reservists. Over the first seven months of 2011, about 160 active-duty and reserve soldiers have committed suicide, which is about on par with the number of troops taking their own lives during the same months in 2009 and 2010.

Since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 1,100 soldiers have taken their own lives, with the numbers escalating each year for the last six years. Last year alone, 301 soldiers committed suicide -- a new record.

An average of 18 veterans commits suicide every day and five of those are already getting treatment at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 300,000 of the U.S. military veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to a recent study.

New statistics from the VA show that veterans make up 20 percent of the 30,000 suicides in the United States each year. In 2010, more than 134,000 people made calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Of those callers, 61 percent identified themselves as veterans.

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