Thursday, June 11, 2009

Army Releases May Suicide Data

The Army released suicide data for the month of May today, reporting one confirmed suicide and 16 potential suicides among active duty soldiers.

In the April report, the Army reported seven active duty potential suicides. Since that time an additional suicide was reported, for a total of eight April potential suicides, three of which have been confirmed and five remain under investigation. There have been 82 reported active duty suicides in the Army during calendar year 2009. Of these, 45 have been confirmed as suicides, and 37 are pending final determination of manner death. For the same period in 2008, there were 51 suicides among active duty soldiers.

During May 2009, among reserve component soldiers who are not on active duty, there was one confirmed suicide and seven potential suicides; to date in 2009, among that same group, there have been 16 confirmed suicides, and 21 potential suicides are currently under investigation. For the same period in 2008, there were 23 suicides among reserve soldiers who were not on active duty.

In January, the Army implemented an Army-wide effort to combat the rise of suicide in its ranks. The Army mandated a suicide prevention stand-down that involved all 1.1 million soldiers; established a Suicide Prevention Task Force; has made dozens of improvements to Army policies, procedures and resources; and recruited additional psychological and behavioral health counselors.

"We have got to do better," said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, "It's clear we have not found full solutions to this yet. But we are trying every remedy and seeking help from outside agencies that are experts in suicide prevention. There isn't a reasonable suicide prevention tool out there the Army won't potentially employ."

The Army's Suicide Prevention Task Force is focused on rapid improvements across the spectrum of health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention to ensure the Army's programs in these areas are coordinated, fully-resourced, and effective.

"As hard as this problem truly is, in some ways it is also very basic, because it requires caring for soldiers, and that's something we already know how to do," said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. "We must simultaneously get back to basics and optimize current programs to set conditions for future programs to tackle this problem."

The Army has identified additional crisis intervention resources available to the Army community. Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance are strongly encouraged to contact Military OneSource or the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach Center (DCoE). 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 United States is 1-800-342-9647, the Military One Source Web site can be found at Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource Web site for dialing instructions for their specific location.

The DCoE Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, or at

The Army's most current suicide prevention information is located at


Anonymous said...

I don't believe a word of this suicide mumbo jumbo. I think these guys are getting killed by the insurgency and the army is covering up by saying they are suicides. Why would all these soldiers commit suicide. More americans are killing themselves than suicide bombers! And hell at least suicide bombers are gettin some confirmed kills! Maybe now that we all agree 9/11 was an inside job all those guilt ridden american troops are gonna off themselves! good riddens then if thats how they feel. said...

Everyone wonders why the suicide rate is so high among soldiers. I am not a doctor and I don’t know a lot of things but this is my opinion. People contemplating suicide often feel pressures and problems can only be dealt with by making the ultimate sacrifice. Our world in the United States is completely developed around problem reduction. Nice homes, indoor plumbing, toilets, beds, television, church, magazines, sports, friends, family, hobbies, movies, nice restaurants, and nightclubs all give us a way to deal with problems here in the “states”. However give a young person a gun and take away the friends and family for 15 months and replace them with potential combatants and thoughts of suicide might be understood. Every night all of us come home from work enjoy a cold beer, dinner, TV and unwind from the day. The young volunteer soldier doesn’t get to do that every night.
Now the military does try to take care of the soldiers the best way they can. There are all sorts of support from the Army and they try their best. But lets change one public policy that can make a difference. Let the US military soldiers have a drink.
The countries of Iraq and Afghanistan do not have the same lifestyle as we do in the “states”. After a hard day’s work on the base in the middle east I have seen the locals leaving with their lunch sacks and sandals and my first thought was, “aaaagh it’s Miller Time”. But no that’s wrong there is no “Miller Time” in the Middle East. Now the US military base is considered sovereign and even though we are unwilling visitors invited into a war we did not ask for we will never win the hearts and minds of the people without acting as ourselves. Let the soldiers have a drink on base AND if you want to support the soldiers stop giving out DUI’s on base and let them sleep it off in the “tank” if they need too. The base should always be a safe place for the soldier. You will NOT have a shortage of volunteers to fight these wars if the policy on drinking is changed and the suicide rate will drop dramatically.