Army is traditionally considered to be one of the most rigid institutions where the strict discipline and order reigns.
However, the actual situation reveals the fact that army is still susceptible to problems that are typical for the contemporary society. Moreover, some problems, such as the problem of suicide, do not only have the similar trend than the rest of society has but they can be also aggravated consistently by the specific environment, in which soldiers and officers have to serve. In other words, the problem of suicide is typical not only for the contemporary society but it is also common to the contemporary army and, what is more important, the causes of suicides are often determined by the conditions of life and service of militaries in the army.
In this respect, it should be said that the problem of suicide was always one of the most serious problems for any army. It is necessary to underline the fact that the risk and the number of suicides increase consistently when the army takes part in a military campaign. In fact, the trend to the increase of the number of suicides is traditionally observed within the army when a war commence. At this point, it is possible to remind the war in Vietnam, which produced a dramatic impact on the psychology of soldiers and officers, while the use of drugs and special medication enforced the internal inclinations of soldiers and officers to suicides. The same trend may be observed nowadays, especially in regard to the militaries that serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. Often specialists observe that the psychology of soldiers and officers that took in these military campaigns is broken and their psychological state is extremely disturbing (Army suicides up 20 percent in 2007, Report Says, 2007). The cases of suicides among these soldiers and officers are not rare, though it is still hardly possible to estimate that a suicide is a norm in the contemporary army, even though the suicide rate in the US army is the highest within last two-three decades. However, it is worth mentioning the fact that the number of soldiers that participate in military conflicts has increased that may partially explain the increased suicide rate, which reached 17,3 per 100,000 in 2007, compared to 9,1 per 100,000 in 2001 (Jelinek, 2007).
Nevertheless, the trend to increase the number of suicide in the result of a military campaign reveals the fact that military operations can produce irrevocable changes in human psychology. On the other hand, suicides occur even if soldiers and officers do not take part in a military campaign. However, it is obvious that psychological reasons are the primary cause of suicide in the army.
On analyzing the causes of suicide, it should be said that soldiers and officers are under a permanent pressure because their rhythm of life and work is consistently stricter and severer compared to ordinary people. They always test the limits of their physiological and psychological forces. The training and preparation of soldier and officers to the participation in military campaigns can also undermine their psychological balance and result in a suicide. At the same time, it should be said that soldiers and officers often lack opportunities for relaxation and distraction, while the permanent psychological pressure produces a destructive impact on their psychology provoking suicidal inclinations. In such a way, it is possible to estimate that the lack of preventive programs may be named among causes of army suicides.
Another important factor that contributes consistently to the high number of army suicides is the fact that soldiers and officers have access to firearms. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that specialists (Wood, 2007) indicate to the fact that a majority of suicides involve firearms. In such a way, the access of firearms increases the risk of suicides in the army.
In such a situation, it is extremely important to develop effective programs that could prevent army suicides. It should be said that it is primarily necessary to focus on the psychological help, especially to soldiers that participated in military conflicts. This means that it is necessary to employ psychologists as well as mental health specialists in order to monitor the mental and psychological state of soldiers and officers and help them recover from possible psychological traumas.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problem of army suicides is one of the major challenges to the contemporary army because it undermines the psychological state of militaries. At the same time, to minimize the risk of suicides, it is necessary to implement changes which could provide soldiers and officers with essential psychological help.