Army Efforts Don’t Stem Fort Hood Suicides
Large combat base in Texas had 22 Suicides in 2010, most in DoD
by Gregg Zoroya
USA Today, Jan. 16, 2011
The Army’s largest post saw a record-high number of soldiers kill themselves in 2010 despite a mental health effort aimed at reversing the trend.
The Army says 22 soldiers have either killed themselves or are suspected of doing so last year at its post at Fort Hood in Texas, twice the number from 2009.
That is a rate of 47 deaths per 100,000, compared with a 20-per-100,000 rate among civilians in the same age group and a 22-per-100,000 rate Army-wide.
“We are at a loss to explain the high numbers,” says Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, acting commander. “It’s personally frustrating.”
The Army had boosted staffing and psychiatric services to address the problem, particularly after the fatal shootings of 13 people on the post in November 2009. The Army alleges that Maj. Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist, fired his pistol indiscriminately at soldiers waiting for routine medical care.
Fort Hood now has one of the largest counseling staffs in the Army with more than 170 behavioral health workers.
“Anytime they’ve asked for it, the Army has done everything it can to provide assistance,” says Army Col. Christopher Philbrick, deputy commander of an Army task force on reducing suicides.
Many of the 46,500 soldiers at Fort Hood have returned from war zones or are on their way to them.
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