The number of U.S. troops committing suicide set a record in 2012, exceeding the number of combat deaths, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The Pentagon said 349 active-duty troops killed themselves in 2012, up more than 15 per cent from 2011 despite renewed efforts by the military to stem the suicide rate.
"This is an epidemic that cannot be ignored," said Senator Patty Murray, who championed legislation last year to improve suicide prevention efforts and mental health care for troops and veterans.
"As our newest generation of service members and veterans face unprecedented challenges, today's news shows we must be doing more to ensure they are not slipping through the cracks."
The Army, as the largest service, counted the biggest number of suicides, with 182 soldiers killing themselves in 2012, according to preliminary figures. The Navy had 60 suicides, the Air Force had 59 and the Marines had 48.