The number of U.S. Army suicides increased to 108 in 2007, six more than the previous year, two defense officials revealed Thursday in advance of a full report to be released later in the day. About one-quarter of the suicides occurred in Iraq.
The 108 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers and National Guard and Reserve troops that had been activated was lower than the preliminary figure released in January that suggested as many as 121 troops may have committed suicide in 2007, the Associated Press reported.
During the five years of war in Iraq and nearly seven years of war in Afghanistan, there's been an increase in troop suicides -- 67 in 2004, 85 in 2005, 102 in 2006 and 108 in 2007.
The increases are occurring despite a number of initiatives to improve the mental health of troops, including more suicide prevention training and education programs, the hiring of hundreds of additional mental health professionals, and increased mental health screening of troops, the AP reported.