Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its 2013 calendar year Suicide Event Report (DoDSER), which details the number of suicide attempts and deaths for U.S. service members.
The DoDSER also includes detailed assessments of demographic information, behavioral health history, and deployment history for each suicide event. This comprehensive information informs DoD senior leaders as they make policy decisions to improve suicide prevention efforts.
In calendar year 2013, active component suicide totals and rates declined over 2012, while reserve components had a slight increase. There were 229 deaths by suicide among active component service members and 220 deaths by suicide among selected reserve component service members (87in the reserve and 133 in the National Guard).
The suicide rate per 100,000 in 2013 was 18.7 for active component service members, 23.4 for reserve component and 28.9 for National Guard.
“One suicide among our ranks is too many,” said Jackie Garrick, director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. “Suicide is complex, and the better we understand these events in our community, the better we will be able to assist service members in crisis. We consider any measure that saves a life as one worth taking. ”
The department is actively engaged in suicide prevention efforts. Each of the services conducts suicide prevention awareness training for service members and families, and DoD has expanded access to mental health care by increasing the number of providers, embedding them at the unit level and training community clinicians in military cultural competence. Directors of Psychological Health are available for the National Guard.
The 2013 DoDSER findings are available at: http://www.suicideoutreach.org/Docs/Reports/2013_DoDSER_Annual_Report.pdf
Additional information is available on the Suicide Prevention Office website at www.suicideoutreach.org.
If you are a service member or family member in crisis or know someone who is, please contact the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 (Press 1), www.militarycrisisline.net, or by phone-text to 838255. The Military Crisis Line provides 24/7 confidential support to all service members and their families.