(Photo:Flickr/The U.S. Army)

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli announced in a press briefing that active-duty Army suicides for 2011 increased from those the previous year. He maintains, however, that the overall rates have largely “leveled off.”

The figures released by Chiarelli reveal that the number of suicides in the Army Reserves and National Guard have decreased since 2010. However, there were 164 suicides in the Army in 2011 compared with 159 in 2010. Combining the Army, Army Reserves and National Guard, there were 278 suicides in 2011. In 2008, that number was at a much lower 200.

CNN reports that Chiarelli, who has been leading the Army’s efforts to reduce the number of suicides, is not disheartened by the trend.

“The question you have to ask yourself, and this is the end no one can prove, is: What would it have been had we not focused the efforts that we focused on? How much more would it have continued to climb? What I look at here is the fact that for all practical purposes for the last two to three years, it has leveled off,” he said.

A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs released in November revealed that approximately 18 veterans commit suicide each day.

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Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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