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‘Mental disease rising among US troops’

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Press TV
July 24, 2010

America’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on US soldiers, as the latest statistics show one out of every nine American soldiers leaves the army on a medical discharge due to a mental disorder.

“We have 100,000 troops and a third of them suffer some sort of mental health disease and half of those suffer multiple health disease,” Paul Martin from Peace Action told Press TV’s correspondent.

The army alone saw a 64 percent increase in those forced out due to mental illness between 2005 and 2009, the numbers equal to one in nine of all medical discharges.

According to army statistics, last year alone 1,224 soldiers suffering from mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, received a medical discharge.

According to Mental health experts there is a growing emotional toll on the US military which has been fighting for seven years in Iraq and nine years in Afghanistan, and there is a clear relationship between multiple deployments and increased symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

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Some experts say age is also a factor.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

“We are talking young people — 18 to 24-year-olds, who are seeing the horrors of war,” Martin said.

Analysts are concerned that with budget cuts looming, military medical programs will be the first on the chopping block.

The soldiers who are discharged for having both a mental and physical disability increased by 174% during the last 5 years from a little under 1,400 in 2005, to more than 3,800 in 2009, according to army statistics.

The suicide rate among US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan has escalated to a record high, with an average of one suicide per day in June.

According to US Army statistics, a total of 32 soldiers took their own lives last month, making it the worst month on record for Army suicides. Twenty-one were on active duty, with the rest being among National Guards or Army Reserves in an inactive status, CNN reported earlier in July.

This article was posted: Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 5:36 am





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