The Army released suicide data today for the month of December. Among active-duty soldiers, there were ten potential suicides: one has been confirmed as suicide, and nine remain under investigation. For November, the Army reported 11 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, three have been confirmed as suicides, and eight remain under investigation.
There were 160 reported active-duty Army suicides during 2009. Of these, 114 have been confirmed, and 46 are pending determination of manner of death. During 2008, there were 140 suicides among active-duty soldiers.
During December 2009, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were six potential suicides. For the year 2009, among that same group, there were 78 total suicides. Of those, 49 were confirmed as suicides and 29 are pending determination of the manner of death. For 2008, there were 57 suicides among reserve soldiers who were not on active duty.
“There’s no question that 2009 was a painful year for the Army when it came to suicides. We took wide-ranging measures last year to confront the problem, from the service-wide stand-down and chain-teach program, to enhanced suicide prevention programs and guidance for our Army units, and the suicide prevention research through our partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health,” said Col. Christopher Philbrick, deputy director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force.
In 2010, the Army will continue to update and conduct suicide prevention training and improve procedures to ensure soldiers and families receive the support they need when undergoing key transitions, such as moving to another duty station or separating from the Army.
As part of the ongoing Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention, the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force will complete a thorough analysis and assessment of each of the Army’s current suicide prevention programs to determine which are most effectively meeting the needs of the Army community.
“Our assessment will give us the data we need to make decisions about how our programs should be expanded or adjusted, while at the same time maintaining our focus on saving soldiers’ lives,” Philbrick added.
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact Military OneSource or the Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach Center. Trained consultants are available from both organizations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The Military OneSource toll-free number for those residing in the continental U.S. is 1-800-342-9647. Their website address is http://www.militaryonesource.com. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.