Troop mental health a priority, Mullen says

Other News Materials 3 June 2009 00:38 (UTC +04:00)

America's highest ranking military officer said Tuesday the nation must do more for the mental health of American soldiers, warning statistics show "there are going to be more (troop) suicides this year than last", CNN reported.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said the military lacks the number of mental health professionals necessary to help returning or soon-to-deploy troops deal with the high stress of war. He said he's working to get more money to increase the number of counselors so more soldiers can be helped.

Mullen made the comment to an audience of military families during a breakfast sponsored by The Hill newspaper at the Liaison Hotel in Washington.

"I think we need to get to a point where everyone is screened by a competent mental health professional," he said.

Officials say 64 soldiers have committed or are suspected of having committed suicide this year in the Army alone. That puts it on a grim pace to break last year's record of 133.