INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - American military suicide rates hit an all-time high in 2012 but according to the Indiana National Guard, state numbers have remained steady.
ING leaders credit well-being programs and an Adjutant General who prioritizes the health of his soldiers.
24-Hour News 8 spoke with members of the Indiana National Guard's Crisis Intervention Team. According to Captain Ricky Mapes, the ING saw five suicides in 2012; the same as the year before.
However, national numbers show an alarming increase. Pentagon numbers recently released show 349 active-duty troops took their own lives in 2012 – that's an increase from 301 in 2011 and exceeded the Pentagon's own internal projection of 325.
Mapes says the ING's J9 includes 20 well-being programs, everything from financial to relational success. It's factors like those that led to the ING's recent suicides.
Contrary to popular belief, deployment and PTSD are not the triggering symptoms. That's why the ING offers Military Family Life Consultants and a Director of Psychological Health who are available 24/7.
But one of the keys, Mapes says, is getting to the issues before suicide is even a thought.
"We do have programs in place on the front end of this to provide support before it becomes a crisis, before it gets to that point of a completion, and I think that's one of the reasons we haven't seen this increase," said Mapes.
Nationally last year The Army had the highest active-duty suicide rate of 182 however the Marine Corps had the largest percentage increase – a 50 percent jump to 48. The Air Force recorded 59 suicides.
Saturday morning, Wishard Memorial Hospital will close its doors.
Snow that moved through Central Indiana this week has wrapped up, leaving some areas with more than 10 inches of snow.
Free bags of salt will be available to the public Saturday after snow moved through Central Indiana this week.