Death at Camp Pendleton Probed as Suicide
Statistics on Reserve Marine suicides still unknown
by Mark Walker
North County Times, May 7, 2012
The shooting death of a young Marine at Camp Pendleton on Monday was being investigated as an apparent suicide.
The fatality involving a young adult male occurred about 9:40 a.m., according to base officials.
It came the same day the service reported that four active-duty Marines worldwide took their own lives in April, raising the number of confirmed suicides in the Marine Corps this year to 14.
Despite widespread efforts to counsel troops about suicide and offer them an array of mental health assistance programs, there continues to be a high rate of suicides among Marine and U.S. troops in general.
The demographics in the service, where young males constitute the highest percentage of troops, is one factor as that group is most at risk for suicide in the population as a whole.
The stress of multiple combat deployments and exposure to violence and death are also seen as major contributing factors.
Monday’s death at Camp Pendleton is being probed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, but there was no immediate indication that it was not a suicide.
The Marine Corps does not routinely report where its suicides occur, but 11 of the suicides last year were Camp Pendleton Marines, according to statistics provided to the North County Times.
An additional 73 active-duty Marines have attempted to take their own lives this year, according to the service’s suicide prevention program.
Program officials reported 163 attempts last year and a record 172 in 2010. The number of attempts recorded the first four months of this year will result in a record high number if it continues.
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