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Fort Bliss officials say what may be behind high-ranking soldier suicides

By: Gina Benitez
FORT BLISS, Texas

Fort Bliss is known for its low suicide rates among other army installations.

In 2013, the post had six confirmed suicides. Over the last three years, there were fewer than 20.

Despite that, a disturbing trend arose.

"We saw, of the confirmed suicides, most of them were either officers or senior enlisted. What that basically shows is that nobody's immune from suicide," said Lt. Col. Lee Peters, Fort Bliss spokesman.

In the past, officials at Fort Bliss tell KFOX 14 that many soldier suicides were those in entry-level positions.

Peters says a few things may be to blame for what's happening now.

"One of the things about being a leader is that they know how to detect and identify symptoms so this means that they might be able to mask those symptoms so other people can't identify that they're in times of need," Peters said.

A soldier in a leadership role may feel he or she has a certain reputation to maintain.

"They might think it's a sign of weakness. 'Here I am a person in a leadership position and that if I'm seeking help for myself, how can people have that trust and confidence in me?'"

Many believe there's a stigma attached to seeking help, but Bliss stands strong behind it's message: Seeking help is a strength, not a weakness.

"Regardless of your rank or position, there are enough resources put in place and enough people who are willing to help you that if you are in need of assistance. There's more than enough resources out there to help you in times of need," Peters said.

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