Fighting military’s highest suicide rate, war-weary Marines boost troops’ mental health care

By Kevin Maurer, AP
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As suicides soar, Marines add mental health pros

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The Marines find themselves losing a fight against suicide.

The branch’s suicide rate has more than doubled over the last three years to surpass the Army as the worst in the military.

The Marine Corps has sharply increased the number of mental health care workers at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and Camp Pendleton near San Diego. But the service’s suicide rate is now twice as bad as the nation’s overall rate.

Repeated tours of duty mean more Marines need treatment. Even the bigger mental health staffs are having a hard time keeping up.

A report sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week calls for better coordination among the branches when it comes to suicide prevention.

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