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09 Aug 2017

What's behind the alarmingly-high suicide, fratricide cases in the army?

Is stress the reason behind suicides in Army?

The Indian Army loses over a 100 personnel every year to suicides and fratricides. 2017 has already seen 44 suicides and one fratricide.

Since 2014, 310 personnel have died in such cases, the defense ministry told the Parliament.

In 2014, 84 soldiers killed themselves; 78 in 2015 and 104 in 2016.

What's the reason behind this alarming number? Let's find out.

In context

Is stress the reason behind suicides in Army?
Is stress killing our soldiers?

The reason

Is stress killing our soldiers?

According to MoS Defence Subhash Bhamre, studies highlighted that stress was a major reason behind soldiers taking such extreme steps.

The jawans go through tremendous mental stress ranging from failing to tackle problems being faced by their families back home, harassment by anti-social elements or marital problems.

Moreover, poor salaries and lack of basic amenities add to the stress.

In contrast, far fewer suicides, fratricides in Navy, Air Force

In contrast, a look at suicide and fratricide cases in the other defense services is surprising. While the Navy reported only 12 cases of suicide from 2014 to March 10, 2017, the IAF recorded 60 suicides and two fratricide cases in the same period.

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Counseling sessions, yoga are measures being taken to relieve stress

As armed forces continue to lose over 100 soldiers in stress-related deaths in the form of suicides and fratricide, the defense ministry has come up with few measures to combat this growing problem.

A number of counselors have been hired for providing mental health services.

Other measures are improvement in living and working conditions, conducting yoga/meditation sessions.

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