Soldiers will today put aside regular duties to devote a day to suicide prevention training. Thursday's 'stand down' was called in light of a record number of military suicides this year, with a spike of 26 probable suicides in July and over 100 throughout the year. At army posts across the world, troops will learn about recognizing suicidal behavior patterns and various intervention techniques.
“The Army has decided that this issue is so important to us that we’re going to devote an entire day . . . that was otherwise devoted to something else and say ‘That’s not as important as this,’ ” Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler III, the top non-commissioned officer in the Army, told a press conference Wednesday.
As The Washington Post noted, the high suicide numbers "reflect in part the stress on the force after more than a decade of lengthy and multiple deployments for many troops in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.