Military officials say that the number of suicides within the ranks of US special forces has hit record levels. The number of self-inflicted deaths is also high in Navy SEALs and Army Rangers. Experts believe the high amount of self-inflicted deaths is related to the effects of multiple years in combat.
Suicide numbers have risen steadily but they have reached their highest levels over the past two years say politicians following the issue. Troubled troops also have difficulties adjusting to the change in demand of military services. With the US' shrinking troop levels, many soldiers roles may feel diminished especially if they tie their identity to being in the military. Experts believe that it may take more than a year to evaluate the effects of long-term combat on special operations units who run missions from assassinations to humanitarian aid. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations commands make up about 59,000 people, according to the Pentagon. Despite the alarming trend, there appears to be a glimmer of hope in helping to curb the number of military suicides. The increasing trend appears to have been consistent in 2013 but early data is showing a slight decrease of 284 suicides among active duty forces in the year to December 15th.