I was alarmed to read in The Washington Post that 121 soldiers committed suicide and another 2,100 soldiers attempted suicide in 2007, the latter being a six-fold increase from 2002. Though I appreciate the efforts the Army has made to improve mental health care and services for our soldiers, I fear that the strain placed on our forces by frequent and lengthy deployments is simply becoming untenable for service members and their families. These tragic suicides and attempted suicides may be a terrible consequence of that strain.
I would also like an overview of what steps the Army is taking to address the increasing trend in suicides and suicide attempts. In particular, I would like to know:
· What action is the Army taking to reduce the stigma associated with soldiers suffering from mental health issues?
· How many mental health providers are deployed in support of our soldiers, and what impact has this had on the availability of mental health providers for our soldiers and their families in the
? United States
· How many soldiers who have attempted or committed suicide have been under the care of a mental health professional?
· Does the Army need additional resources from Congress to assist in curbing the increasing trend in suicides?
Unfortunately, these terrible tragedies remind us of the grave consequences of sending our men and women into harm's way. But they also remind us that we can and should be doing more. As always, I remain committed to ensuring that our military has the best possible mental health resources and services in place to care for our men and women in uniform. I look forward to your response.
United States Senator
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