Friday, May 29, 2009

Kentucky Army Base closed for 3 days due to high number of suicides

Updated at: 1328 PST, Friday, May 29, 2009

WASHINGTON: With at least 11 confirmed suicides this year Fort Campbell Army Base in Kentucky is closing down for three days to allow commanders to identify at-risk soldiers and help them with their mental health issues.

To gain some perspective on why the Army would order a stand-down of Fort Campbell, the 11 suicides there were a significant number of the total 64 suicides the Army experienced so far this year and Army officials are also investigating some other deaths as possible suicides.

Fort Campbell began the stand-down Wednesday and officials are working to identify anyone who has feelings of wanting to hurt themselves. As stress levels go up in the military, many soldiers are having trouble dealing with resulting mental health issues.

Base commander, Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend, spoke to the 19,000 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division.

He told the soldiers that if anyone needed help to just ask, he told them that he had no way of knowing if they needed help unless they asked. Soldiers are sometimes reluctant to ask for help with mental health issues.

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