The Army released suicide data today for the month of May. During May, among active-duty soldiers, there were 16 potential suicides: four have been confirmed as suicides and 12 remain under investigation. For April, the Army reported 14 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, one case has been added for a total of 15 potential suicides: four have been confirmed as suicides and 11 remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 78 potential active-duty suicides: 42 have been confirmed as suicides and 36 remain under investigation. Updated active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 165 (confirmed as suicides and no cases remain under investigation).
During May, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were nine potential suicides (two Army National Guard and seven Army Reserve): two have been confirmed as suicides and seven remain under investigation. For April, among that same group, the Army reported 13 potential suicides. Since the release of that report, three cases have been added for a total of 16 potential suicides (seven Army National Guard and nine Army Reserve): 11 have been confirmed as suicides and five remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 46 potential not on active-duty suicides (26 Army National Guard and 20 Army Reserve): 33 have been confirmed as suicides and 13 remain under investigation. Not on active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 118 (82 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve) confirmed as suicides and no cases remain under investigation.
In a May 10, 2012, memorandum titled “Suicide Prevention for Department of Defense Personnel,” Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta stated, “Suicide prevention is first and foremost a leadership responsibility. To that end, leaders throughout the chain of command must actively promote a constructive climate that fosters cohesion and encourages individuals to reach out for help when needed. We must continue to fight to eliminate the stigma from those with post-traumatic stress and other mental-health issues. Seeking help is a sign of strength, and department personnel, both military and civilian, must show this strength or assist those in need of help.”
Panetta ended his memorandum by stating, “As leaders of the department, ensuring the health and safety of our people is our most important responsibility. Working together, we can and will make a difference.”
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and pressing “1” for military members and veterans or by visiting their website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org .
The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at http://www.preventsuicide.army.mil .
Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r600_63.pdf and Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/p600_24.pdf .
Suicide prevention training resources for soldiers, leaders, Department of the Army civilians, and family members can be accessed at: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training_sub.asp?sub_cat=20 (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials) .
Information about Military OneSource is located at http://www.militaryonesource.com or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647 for those residing in the United States. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.
Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at http://www.army.mil/csf .
The Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at Resources@DCoEOutreach.org and at http://www.dcoe.health.mil .
The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is http://www.afsp.org , and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at http://www.sprc.org/index.asp .