Thursday, May 1, 2014

Military suicide rate rose again in 2012

From:  Fierce Government

The suicide rate among active military servicemembers rose to 22.7 per 100,000 individuals in 2012, according to a Defense Department report released April 25.

That's up from 18 suicides per 100,000 active servicemembers in 2011 and 17.5 in 2010.

In 2012, the suicide rate was more than twice as high among men than women and also disproportionately high among white servicemembers.

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In addition to the 319 active servicemembers who committed suicide in 2012, another 841 attempted suicide at least once. There were also 203 suicides among Reserve and National Guard members.

"Establishing, monitoring, and analyzing suicide prevention research and surveillance activities in order to identify suicide risk factors is essential for the improvement of suicide prevention policy and programs," the report (pdf) says.

Firearms were the method for 207 of the 319 active servicemember suicides in 2012. In at least three-fourths of those cases, the firearms was not military-issued.

Preliminary data for 2013 shows a decline in both the number and rate of suicides in "most categories," DoD says, although it made few figures available.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who sponsored a military suicide prevention bill last year, released a statement after the DoD report came out, saying, "We need to start focusing on consistent mental health screening across the branches because many servicemembers are not being reached outside of the deployment cycle."

For more:
- download the 2012 Department of Defense Suicide Event Report (pdf)