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Numerous Defense Personnel Granted Early Retirement Due to Mental Illness

4-06 "on account of mental disorders, including cases of psychosis, neurosis, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, alcohol dependence syndrome and depression".

The armed forces have witnessed a spurt in suicides - 21 this year alone - prompting the defense ministry to take a series of counter measures including counseling and yoga classes to help soldiers cope with stress.

"Training capsules on relaxation exercises including yoga and meditation have been introduced," even as officers at various levels had been asked to identify and counsel soldiers "who are at higher risk of combat stress", Antony had told parliament last month.

This apart, religious teachers, junior commissioned officers (JCOs) of the Army Education Corps (AEC) and regimental medical officers have been identified as psychological health mentors, trained in psychiatry and have been posted at various units, he added.

Antony said that 50 JCOs of the Army Medical Corps (AMC) have been trained as counselors and posted to the northern and eastern commands where troops are engaged in counter-insurgency operations.

The armed forces witnessed 146 suicides in 2006, with 120 in the army, 24 in the air force and two in the navy and the coast guard.

There were 120 suicides, including 15 failed attempts in 2005. These included 92 - as also the failed attempts - in the army, 23 in the air force and five in the navy and coast guard.

The year 2004 witnessed 118 suicides - 100 in the army, 13 in the air force and five in the navy and its sister service.

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