ST. PAUL (AP) — Adjutant General Rick Nash says the Minnesota National Guard is getting "unsubstantiated notoriety" over the number of military suicides.

Nash tells a joint legislative hearing that suicide is increasing among the entire population — not just the military.

While 24 Minnesota National Guard members have died by suicide since 2007, Nash says two-thirds of that number had never deployed — and only two suicides occurred among active duty soldiers.

Nash says it's a "common assumption" that suicides are the result of post-traumatic stress disorder — but he says that's not true.

He says suicide is a statewide problem, and he urged lawmakers Monday to fund suicide prevention efforts.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.