A memorial service was held Monday for Peter Linnerooth, a U.S. Army psychologist who took his own life on Jan. 2 in Mankato. The 42-year-old Bronze Star recipient is credited with helping hundreds of soldiers cope with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.
As an Army psychologist, Linnerooth faced the challenge of preventing soldier suicides during their tour of duty, as well as two more years helping veterans in California and Nevada. But after five years in the Army, including 12 violent months at the height of the Iraq troop surge, Linnerooth returned to Minnesota suffering PTS himself.
Linnerooth was published in a 2011 edition of the American Psychologist, as the lead author of an article on professional burnout among military psychologists.
RECORD 349 MILITARY SUICIDES IN 2012
The Associated Press reported Monday that suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 in 2012, far exceeding the 295 American combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012.
301 military suicides were reported in 2011.
The Army had the highest number of suicides among active-duty troops in 2012, with 182, but the Marines had the largest percentage increase -- up 50 percent to 48. The Air Force recorded 59 suicides and the Navy had 60.
CALL FOR ANNUAL PTSD SCREENING
Of the 2.6 million U.S. military service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, it's estimated 13 percent to 20 percent have symptoms of PTS. And barely half of those diagnosed with PTS actually get treatment, often because many soldiers worry it could jeopardize their careers.
Those numbers led to a recommendation for the Institute of that soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan undergo annual screening for post-traumatic stress disorder and that federal agencies conduct more research to determine how well the various treatments for PTS are working.
Panel calls for annual PTS screening of returning soldiers
U of M researchers find possible key to treating, understanding PTS