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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Army Suicides hit Record High - KIAH

Jason Volentine

Our military heroes do a dangerous job and newly released suicide numbers from the U.S. Department of Defense suggest that job's taking its mental toll.
In 2009, more active duty army soldiers committed suicide than were killed in Iraq combat. With the military now operating in two separate wars, the suicide rate is something military families are calling attention to.
In the Army alone, 160 soldiers were reported to have taken their own lives last year. That number is the highest since the Army started keeping track 28 years ago.
"They're asked to do very tough jobs," said Denise Richardson, A teacher with Project Welcome Home Troops.
People like Richardson believe we need to all be doing something to help. Her workshops give veterans coping mechanisms before and after deployment.
"They've experienced that fear that stress, all of that. So when you come in and have the ability to release that tension they appreciate it so much," said Richardson.
In this age of multiple deployments, soldiers are under huge stress. It's leading to case after case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is often a precursor to suicide.
"My brother just arrived in Bagdad for his second tour five days ago," said Dr. Francesca Jackson, another teacher with Project Welcome Home Troops. "My dad was a Vietnam, actually a career soldier, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. When he came home from Vietnam he had PTSD and I saw it up close and personal and he was never the same."
The amount of resources has skyrocketed for veterans who need help coping. Websites offer everything from advice, to video chat with counselors.
"I think we have a chance in this country right now to really make a paradigm shift in the way we think about war and the way we think about peace and the way we think about really being community and taking care of each other," said Jackson.
For more information on Project Welcome Home Troops go to or call: 805.217.5967. Also, for more online resources, go to,,,

Army Suicides hit Record High - KIAH

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