Fort Hood suicide rate jumped in 2010

Jan. 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM
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KILLEEN, Texas, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The suicide rate at Fort Hood in Texas more than doubled in 2010 despite increased efforts to address mental health issues, the Army said.

Army officials said 22 soldiers either committed suicide or were believed to have done so last year at Fort Hood, the Army's largest post, USA Today reported Thursday.

Many of the 46,500 soldiers stationed at Fort Hood have returned from war zones or are on their way to them, the report said.

"It's like a chain reaction," said Maxine Trent, director of a free mental health clinic for soldiers near Fort Hood. "Being the front and back door to [Iraq and Afghanistan], on top of having had a massacre [13 people slain in November 2009] on post, we've got some pretty psychologically fragile folks."

Fort Hood's rate of 47 deaths per 100,000 is more than twice the rate for civilians in the same age group, officials said.

The civilian death rate is 20-per-100,000, the overall Army rate is 22-per-100,000.

"We are at a loss to explain the high numbers," says Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, acting commander. "It's personally frustrating."

Fort Hood has more than 170 behavioral health workers and has boosted staffing and psychiatric services to address mental health issues.

All the suicide victims at Fort Hood in 2010 were men.

"It's just devastating really because they're all so young, with their lives ahead of them," said Linda Chupik, a marriage family therapist.

Fort Bragg, N.C., reported the second highest number of Army suicides in 2010 with 12.

The previous high number of suicides on a single Army post was 21 at Fort Campbell in Kentucky in 2009.

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