The Swiss army has ordered soldiers to wear a backpack and shoulder pads, following a recent increase in the number of suicides by soldiers.
Army chief Lieutenant General Franz Schaeffer said on Tuesday that soldiers should wear a backpacks, shoulder pads and some form of body armor in an effort to tackle suicide by soldiers in the ranks.
Schaeffer added that a “zero suicide rate” will be achieved once all soldiers are given the right equipment.
He said the backpack will be worn on the left shoulder while the shoulder pads will be placed on the right side of the shoulders.
The backpack will include a backpack pocket and a shoulder strap, Schaeffer added.
The general also said that military officials will be taking a look at the possibility of using the backpack as a substitute for a rifle, a military source told the AFP news agency.
The army also ordered soldiers on Wednesday to wear “no neck wear” when wearing helmets.
Schiaffer said that if the backpack is deemed appropriate for military use, the military would allow soldiers to carry it on the head as long as it did not obstruct the wearer’s vision.
Schoeffer has been the subject of an internal investigation into the suicide rates in the army, which has since fallen to 0.9% from an earlier peak of 2.1%.