Military suicides hit record high

It’s also more deaths than the 295 troops killed in Afghanistan last year, according to the AP.

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The record high comes as the Pentagon has made a major effort to curb military suicides with new programs and outreach.

“This issue, suicides, is perhaps the most frustrating challenge that I have come across since becoming Secretary of Defense last year,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at a DOD-Veterans Affairs suicide prevention conference last June. “Despite the increased efforts, the increased attention, the trends continue to move in a troubling and tragic direction.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who was chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement that more had to be done.

“This is an epidemic that cannot be ignored,” Murray said. “As our newest generation of servicemembers and veterans face unprecedented challenges, today’s news shows we must be doing more to ensure they are not slipping through the cracks.”