The U.S. Army ordered soldiers to participate in a special training exercise Thursday because the number of suicides among our service men and women spiked this year.
It's not often the Army tells its troops to "stand down," but the issue of suicide has become too important to ignore.
The service is devoting the entire day to suicide prevention. In the first seven months of 2012, the Army recorded 116 suicides among active duty soldiers. Officials said if it maintains this pace, the number would dwarf the total of 167 suicides last year.
Military leaders are puzzled at the increase, considering so much has been put into prevention, like hiring more psychiatrists and mental health workers as well as establishing new programs starting in basic training.
Dr. Michael Moore is a psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He said one problem with veterans and active duty members is pride.
"There are some veterans who feel embarrassed to come forward and talk about these things. We want to get the message out that you don't need to do that, that it's OK," Moore said. "Call the crisis hotline, just come in and see us. We'll talk about it and see what we can do to help you."
The Department of Veterans Affairs' toll-free number for veterans and their families to receive confidential help is 800-273-8255. People can also chat only at veteranscrisisline.net.
Since the line was first established in 2007, it's received more than 400,000 calls resulting in more than 14,000 life-saving rescues. The anonymous online chat has helped another 4,000 vets and family members.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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