EL PASO, Texas -

The commander of Fort Bliss says the suicide rate at the West Texas base has dropped at a time it has risen dramatically throughout the Army.
    
Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard says the number of suicides dropped from seven in 2011 to five last year.
    
The national rate rose by 13 percent over the same period. There were 247 confirmed suicides with another 78 under investigation.
    
Pittard says a broad training initiative has prompted a culture change at the base. He says soldiers no longer see a request for help as weakness or an impediment to their career.
    
Pittard says Fort Bliss leads military installations in training soldiers to intervene when detecting suicidal thoughts in their peers. He says 30 percent of soldiers at Fort Bliss have undergone the training.