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Death Toll Of Stress: Nearly 100 Army Personnel Commit Suicide Every Year

News World India | 1
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| August 9 , 2017 , 19:04 IST

The Armed Forces face an immense amount of pressure and stress, even more so when there are threats on all sides, from Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, militants from across the border and China at the Sikkim border. Nearly 100 armed forces personnel lose their lives in stress-related deaths per year, whether it's by suicide or fratricide (killing fellow soldier or superior).

In 2017 itself, the Army has already witnessed 44 suicides and a case of fratricide. Since 2014, around 310 Army soldiers have committed suicide including 9 officers and 19 junior commissioned officers. In the same period, 11 cases of fratricide were reported. Minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre in the Rajya Sabha said that while 84 soldiers committed suicide in 2014, another 78 committed suicide in 2015 and 104 committed suicide in 2017.

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Despite measures undertaken to reduce stress among soldiers, airmen, and sailors, the number of suicide and fratricide cases see no signs of reduction as Armed forces personnel undergo a tremendous amount of mental stress.  

Stress faced by armed forces is due to many reasons, ranging from not being able to take care of problems faced by their families back home, which could be anything from property disputes to harassment to marital problems, to the stress they face in prolonged deployments.

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Counter-insurgency operations also take a toll on the physical endurance and mental health of soldiers, which is compounded by poor salaries, denial of leave, lakh of basic amenities on the field as well as strict treatment by officers.

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry has launched a number of counter measures to reduce the stress faced by Armed forces personnel. A large number of officers have been trained as counselors and civilian psychological counselors have also been brought on to provide "mental health services". Improvements have been made in living and working conditions and additional family accommodations have also been provided. Yoga and meditation is encouraged as a part of daily routine. Also, the grievance redressal mechanism has been strengthened.