August 17, 2012
REP. DILLON ALARMED AT INCREASE IN MILITARY SUICIDES
State Representative Pat Dillon sounded the alarm over a recent U.S. Army report that shows an increase in the number of suicides. According to the report, 26 active-duty soldiers and 12 Army National Guard or Army Reserve members died by suicide in July. The total number of suspected suicides by Army soldiers has reached 187 for 2012.
Other branches of the armed forces have also seen upticks in suspected suicides. Through the first seven months of 2012 the Air Force has reported 55 suicides, the Marine Corps reported 32, the Navy reported 39 and the Coast Guard reported five.
“Suicide is preventable – not in all cases, but in many,” Rep. Dillon said.
Rep. Dillon, author of the Military Support Program (MSP) making Connecticut the only state with behavioral health support for its returning National Guard troops, said the numbers indicate a need for increased intervention and care for returning soldiers and their families.
“We must increase our commitment to the health and wellbeing of soldiers returning home form combat,” Rep. Dillon said. “There is clearly a gaping hole in the military’s safety net and we need to call on Washington to provide soldiers with the support they need.”
Since 2007, MSP has provided an array of behavioral health services to Connecticut’s National Guard members and their family members. The central feature of the MSP program is a statewide panel of over 375 licensed clinicians who provide free, confidential outpatient counseling.