Twelve soldiers in the Belgian army took their own lives last year, with nine doing so in 2015. This is per figures revealed by the Minister for Defence, Steven Vandeput.
He was responding to a written parliamentary question of the deputy, Alain Top (Alternative Socialist Party), reported in La Libre Belgique today (Wednesday). These figures are in line with those of previous years; 13 in 2014, 10 in 2013, 13 in 2012, 14 in 2011, 18 in 2010 and 16 in 2009.
Per the Minister a NATO working group, in which the Belgian Defence Ministry took part, “noted that Belgian figures did not contrast sharply with the European average and our prevention measures were in line with those of other countries.”
The rate of suicides of those in the forces generally is higher than the population average which hovers around 20 suicides per 100,000 inhabitants per year. That of the forces overall bordered on 40 per 100,000 in 2016.
Steven Vandeput states that “an analysis is in progress relating to return and reintegration of forces members, after given operational campaigns.” This period can be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.