FORT HOOD, Texas, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Suicides are a serious problem at the U.S. Army's Fort Hood, the huge Texas military base where an officer went on a deadly shooting spree, records show.
The Washington Post reported Friday 10 of the 117 active-duty Army soldiers reported to have committed suicide this year were stationed at Fort Hood and 75 have taken their lives there since 2003. Fort Hood is the Army's largest base, with tens of thousands of soldiers, but the number of suicides also is the highest among U.S. military posts, the newspaper said.
The alleged shooter in Thursday's rampage that left 13 dead and 30 wounded was Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, a psychiatrist known to be working with soldiers returning from overseas combat with emotional problems. Hasan, a Muslim of Jordanian descent, allegedly had been upset about his impending war-zone deployment.
The Post said multiple deployments through years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have produced record rates of mental health problems in the all-volunteer Army. About 30 percent of those returning from combat suffer mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Abuse of alcohol and drugs is on the rise.
The newspaper points out that those who treat soldiers with post-battlefield emotional issues have been known to experience symptoms vicariously.
Hasan, who served a psychiatry internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from June 2003 to this past July, treated soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.