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Suicides of US Marines have reached their highest level in five years, prompting a Defence Department effort to encourage Marines to seek mental health services, a Marine Corps spokesman said on Tuesday, reports Reuters.
The psychological toll from the war in Iraq is climbing, according to new research and experts who cite the severe stress of fighting a deadly insurgency. Though the Pentagon says mental health care, including battlefield counseling, is expanding, critics counter that military suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder cases have exposed gaps in how treatment is delivered to soldiers.
"Protracted combat with insurgents can bring greater rates of psychiatric disorders than the type of conflict -- a campaign for liberation -- that was the initial goal in Iraq, according to studies from previous conflicts,..."
The Pentagon reversed course Wednesday and told Congress it would look into whether an anti-malaria drug developed by the Army might be causing suicides, one month after asserting the drug could not be a factor.