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    Carpenter: Reducing suicide rate among Army National Guard's highest priorities

    Carpenter: Reducing suicide rate among Army National Guard's highest priorities

    Photo By Johnathon Orrell | Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, the acting director of the Army National Guard,...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Orrell 

    National Guard Bureau

    By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
    National Guard Bureau

    WASHINGTON - One of the highest prioritized issues in the Army National Guard is the increase in suicides, the acting director said Monday at the 2011 Reserve Officer Association National Convention.

    "We have doubled the suicide rate inside the Army National Guard in one year,"
    said Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter. "The reported number of suicides in the Army National Guard in 2009 was 62; the reported number in 2010 was 113."

    Carpenter spoke during the Reserve chief panel, hosted by Secretary Dennis M.
    McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for Reserve affairs, about some of the 2010 statistics.

    "There wasn't a singular event that caused the rate to double," Carpenter

    - More than half of the Army National Guard members who committed suicide in 2010 had never been deployed.
    - Only about 20 percent had unemployment issues or economic problems.
    - 8 percent came to the Army National Guard through waivers.
    - Between 60 percent and 70 percent had relationship issues.
    - 103 of the 113 were male.

    Suicides are not just an issue within the Army National Guard, but a societal one as well, Carpenter said.

    "The Army and the Army National Guard are held accountable for this huge increase in Suicides, and I tell you it's not necessarily just the Army, its society at large," he said.

    "It's a generational problem, and it's a resiliency problem.

    "If you look at your hometown newspaper, you see stories about high school kids who commit suicide and about college kids who commit suicide."

    Carpenter shared examples.

    "Two soldiers [one] in January and [one] and February last year committed suicide, both were 18-years-old, neither one of them had been to basic training or [advanced individual training]," he said.

    "In December we had a soldier that joined the National Guard Dec. 10, committed suicide on the 27th. He was in a car with two girls and another guy, pulled out a gun and shot himself. He had not been to a drill with the National Guard yet."

    He pointed out that when he went to find statistics for the number or suicides in high school-age and college-age children, the latest statistics were from 2007.

    "As you go out and try and find statistics on suicides in high schools or colleges on the Internet, you can't find them," Carpenter said.

    "We know someone is keeping track of them, but they're not available."

    "You know whose statistics are available? The Army's and the [Department of Defense's]," he said

    "My take on that is we need to build a more resilient force and we need to become more resilient as a nation," he said.

    Carpenter closed his comments with a plea to his fellow service members.

    "If you find somebody that's struggling and is considering ending their life as an option, that you engage them, you help them, and then we'll get through this, and we'll build a more resilient nation and a more resilient force," he said.



    Date Taken: 02.02.2011
    Date Posted: 02.02.2011 14:38
    Story ID: 64666
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 

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