The Army released suicide data for the month of June today. Among active-duty soldiers there were no confirmed suicides and nine potential suicides. In May, the Army reported one confirmed suicide and 16 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since that time, seven have been confirmed and nine remain under investigation.
There have been 88 reported active-duty suicides in the Army during calendar year 2009. Of these, 54 have been confirmed, and 34 are pending determination of manner of death. For the same period in 2008, there were 67 confirmed suicides among active-duty soldiers.
During June 2009, among reserve component soldiers not on active duty, there were no confirmed suicides and two potential suicides; to date, among that same group, there have been 16 confirmed suicides and 23 potential suicides currently under investigation to determine the manner of death. For the same period in 2008, there were 29 confirmed suicides among reserve soldiers not on active duty.
"Every soldier suicide is different and tragic in its own way," said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. "Our current research and prevention efforts are identifying common denominators that lead soldiers to take their own life. It's often a combination of many factors that overwhelm an individual.
"Although suicide can impact anyone, we're finding that male soldiers, in combat-arms occupational specialties, between ages 18 and 27 are more vulnerable," McGuire said. "That's why we're looking at existing programs and other institutional safety nets to see what works, and what needs to be changed to enhance the support network of trained leaders and behavioral healthcare providers who can identify and treat risk factors before young soldiers get to the point where they feel there's no way out."
The Army will complete the second phase of a three-phased service-wide suicide stand-down and chain teach program, July 15, 2009. Phases one and two included an interactive training program, that features a video, and a small unit leader training effort which began on February 15, 2009. The third phase of the Army program will include sustained annual suicide prevention training for all soldiers, emphasizing common causes of suicidal behavior and the critical role Army leaders, friends, co-workers and families play in maintaining behavioral health.
The Army's Suicide Prevention Task Force will continue implementation of the Army Campaign Plan for Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention to further enhance suicide prevention and behavioral health programs that directly affect our Army community and save soldiers' lives.
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance should contact Military OneSource or the Defense Center of Excellence (DCOE) 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 800-342-9647, their Web site address is http://www.militaryonesource.com. 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 866-966-1020, via electronic mail at Resources@DCoEOutreach.org and at http://www.dcoe.health.mil/resources.aspx.
The Army's most current suicide prevention information is located at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/ .
Source: Department of Defense Announcement