WASHINGTON — Suicides across the military dropped by more than 22 percent this year, defense officials said, amid an array of new programs targeting what the Defense Department calls an epidemic that took more service members’ lives last year than the war in Afghanistan did during that same period.
Military officials, however, were reluctant to pin the decline on the broad swath of detection and prevention efforts, acknowledging that they still don’t fully understand why troops take their own lives. And since many of those who committed suicide in recent years never served on the warfront, officials also do not attribute the decrease to the end of the Iraq war and the drawdown in Afghanistan.
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