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There’s A Surprising Weapon In The Battle For Soldiers’ Mental Health

“Wait, what? The Army has an arts and crafts department?” Yes it does, and for good reason.

For the past seven years, the rate of U.S. military suicides has been alarmingly high; according to the most recent numbers from the Department of Defense, 266 active-duty servicemembers killed themselves in 2015 alone. (For a disheartening comparison, the total number of suicides was less than 200 between 2001 and 2007.)

The reasons for the increase aren’t entirely clear, according to a 2014 study out of USC that examined several potential root causes—including the modern soldier’s struggle to combat terrorism. In any case, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that nearly 31 percent of Vietnam vets and 20 percent of Iraq War vets suffer from PTSD, which the National Institute of Health explains can result in a number of symptoms, from becoming emotionally numb to losing interest in prior passions.

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