Reducing Suicide Rates In The Military

Mark Graham

Army Major General Mark Graham has served in the military for more than 30 years. hide caption

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Army Major General Mark Graham lost two sons who were serving in the military. In 2003, Graham's 21-year-old son Kevin, a top ROTC cadet at the University of Kentucky, hanged himself after battling depression. Less than a year later, 23-year-old Jeff died when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq.

Graham was struck by the different ways his sons' deaths were regarded. He has since enacted measures to ensure that all soldiers from the base he commands in Fort Carson, Colo. receive full military funerals and memorial services, regardless of whether they died in combat or by their own hand.

Graham's larger mission is to reduce the number of suicides in the military. Last year the rate of suicide in the military exceeded that of the general population, and is highest since the Army began tracking it in the 1980s. Many officials blame the increased rate on repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fresh Air guest host Dave Davies conducts this interview.

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