Army Suicide Rates Rising
POSTED: Monday, July 19, 2010 - 7:18pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 10:01am
Fort Bliss - Through the first half of 2010, U.S. Army suicides are at an all time high. So far this year, MSNBC reports 145 soldiers have committed suicide at army posts around the country.
Alfredo Ramirez just completed his first tour of duty in Iraq. Ramirez says immediately upon returing home to Fort Bliss he and his unit sought help from professionals.
"As soon as we come back we have a lot of training and briefing and one of those briefings is with the Chaplin, he gives us a lot of help, mental help," Ramirez states.
According to the Army, three soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss have committed suicide in the last six months. Fort Hood in Killeen has seen the highest number of army suicides nationwide,12.
Sgt. David Blaisdell says he can't understand why soldiers would want to committ suicide, but he argues the army has been the most difficult transition of his life. Blaisdell says it's tough to simply fit in. "When you're with your family and friends, they know exactly who you are, but when you're in the army, it's kind of hard to show your true self because everyone is so different," Blaisdell argues.
Soldiers say family contact is vital. "It's the number one priority. It's pretty much what we need most to keep fighting," contends Blaisdell. "Families, please call your soldiers. Pay attention to your soldiers; wife, mother, dad. sometimes you need that person to say, hey, I'm here for you too," says Alfredo Ramirez.
Fort Bliss officials say in the opening half of 2010, more than 1300 soldiers have taken advantage of suicide prevention training programs.