Nearly 400 soldiers commit suicide in peacetime

By Shanika Sriyananda

A majority of soldiers who committed suicide were suffering from Adjustment Disorder (AD). Only five of them were those under treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), military Spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya said.

"Many of them committed suicide because they were unable to cope up with their problems," he said, adding that nearly 400 army personnel had, during the past three years, due to various reasons, including various illnesses, committed suicide.

Brig. Wanigasooriya, citing the recent incident where a Major of the 8th Gajaba Regiment, who allegedly blew himself up with a grenade over a broken love affair, said most of the soldiers, who were suffering from adjustment disorder, had committed suicide.

But, he said, the Sri Lanka Army had taken several effective measures to identify and treat soldiers suffering from AD and PTSD.

According to the Defence Military Spokesman, the SLA conducts monthly awareness programmes and mobile psycho-therapeutic clinics with the help of a team of qualified consultant psychiatrists and counsellors.

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Roshan Moneragala is now conducting awareness programmes and mobile clinics for the junior and senior officers attached to the Killinochchi Security Forces Head quarters.

Brig. Wanigasooriya said the officers would be educated on how to detect PTSD, what measures should be taken if a person was detected with the symptoms, how to treat them and also the measures needed to be taken to prevent causes leading to PTSD.

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