POSTED: Friday, September 10, 2010 - 6:37pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 11:00pm
EL PASO - The feds are stepping in to stem what they call an alarming rise in suicides - especially among service members.
While Fort Bliss has one of the lowest rates of army suicide, the post is not immune to the problem.
You may remember two months ago, a soldier shot himself to death during a SWAT standoff in Northeast El Paso.
Army Specialist Robert Nichols, 24, served with the 32nd air and missile defense command.
Negotiators tried to talk Nichols into giving up but he ended the standoff with a gunshot to his chest.
Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that military members are at highest risk of suicide.
"We're also seeing a dangerous trend in our Armed Forces. In June, the Army saw the most deaths ever recorded in a one month period."
"It is always a horrible tragedy when we see a service member safely off the battlefield only to lose them to this scourge. We must and we will do better."
The government's National Action Alliance for suicide prevention says it will fund better research, better training for counselor training and better marketing of services to high risk groups such as service members.