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Reports overstate military suicide rate: Defense Ministry

2012/05/04 23:07:18

Taipei, May 4 (CNA) The incidence of people in the military taking their own lives is lower than that of the average population, the Ministry of National Defense said Friday, defending itself against media reports saying suicide was a serious problem in the military.

The ministry was responding to reports that more than 300 military personnel have died from self-inflicted wounds over the past decade and more than 100 have taken their own lives over the past five years.

The ministry said in a statement that there were 243 deaths from self-inflicted wounds among Taiwanese servicemen between 2002 and 2011.

If also noted that the incidence of self-inflicted fatalities among military personnel was 7.1 out of every 100,000 in 2011, lower than the figure of between 16.8 and 19.3 per 100,000 for the general population between 2006 and 2010, according to statistics published by the Department of Health.

The suicide rate among military personnel drew attention recently after a military police conscript killed himself with his service rifle while standing guard at the Presidential Office Thursday.

The ministry said that it has adopted various measures, including suicide prevention, counseling, and the sending of servicemen to get medical attention to deter military personnel from taking their own lives.

(By Emmanuelle Tseng and Lilian Wu)