Policy & Strategy

Military suicides down for active duty, up for reservists


Military suicides dropped 15 percent last year, but increased for Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers, according to new data reported by The Associated Press. 

Army National Guard and Reserve suicides increased from 140 in 2012 to 152 last year, which exceeded the number of active-duty soldiers who took their own lives, according to the report. 

The increased numbers raise concern that suicide prevention programs are not getting to reservists who don’t live on bases and might lack the support structure provided to active-duty troops.  

In 2013, there were a total of 289 active-duty troop suicides, down from 343 in 2012. 

Most suicides were in the Army, at 151 active-duty suicides last year, but down from 185 in 2012. 

The Navy had 44 suicides last year, down from 59 in 2012; the Marine Corps had 45, down from 48 in 2012. The Air Force had 49 suicides, down from 51 in 2012. 

Officials say it’s too soon to declare success, but they say some programs appear to be working. 

“I don’t think we’ve changed the cultural mindset — that it’s OK for a sailor or a soldier or an airman or Marine to come forward and ask for help,” Rear Adm. Sean Buck, the Navy’s officer in charge of suicide prevention and resilience programs, told the AP. “We’re trying to reduce the stigma that used to exist.”

Tags military suicide Suicide
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