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West Point leaders respond to suicides

WASHINGTON — Following four suicides at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, school leaders say they are emphasizing to cadets that seeking mental health help won't jeopardize their future military careers.

In the last seven months, two cadets, a faculty member, and a staff member at the academy have taken their own lives. The suicides were the first at the New York-based school since 1999.

They are part of a larger trend. The Army had its highest rate of suicide on record in 2008. There does not appear to be a common thread connected with the suicides.

Academy Chaplain Col. John Cook says triple the number of cadets are seeking help, which is viewed as positive.

The issue was addressed Wednesday at a board meeting on Capitol Hill.