WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2015 —
Suicides among active duty members of the U.S. military decreased in 2013 from the previous year, while those among the reserve components were slightly higher, according to a Defense Department report released today.
The 2013 DoD Suicide Event Annual Report lists 259 suicides among active component service members and 220 such deaths among members of the reserves and National Guard. According to the report, failed intimate relationships were the most prevalent stress factor precipitating suicide, with most of those taking their own lives married. Financial or workplace difficulties were also found to be a key factor. Young, Caucasian males -- including junior enlisted troops -- were found to be most likely to turn to suicide.
The report found that just over 66 percent of those who committed suicide had deployed one or more times.
Pentagon officials say they are deeply concerned about suicides within the armed forces and are actively working to prevent them. At the same time, they say they have been encouraged to see more people seeking counseling over the past year, including increased calls to helplines and meetings with mental health experts.
More than a dozen suicide prevention programs are available to service members, veterans and their families, and each of the military branches conducts suicide prevention awareness training. In addition, DoD as a whole has increased the number of counselors available.
The Defense Department is also partnered with Veterans Affairs to promote the Veterans/Military Crisis Line, a confidential counseling service available around the clock at 800-273-8255. Also offered is Vets4Warriors.com, which provides confidential peer support to service members and their families.
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