Too Soon to Cheer Drop in Suicide Rates

NGAUS Washington Post

(Aug. 6, 2013) The first few months of 2013 saw a drop in military suicides from the previous year, but officials are not ready to say the decline is a trend, according to a report in Army Times.

The Defense Department Suicide Prevention Office reported 157 suicide deaths among active-component and mobilized National Guard and reserve troops between January and early July. The same period one year ago saw 192 suicides.

“At this point, we are trending below both suicide and suicide attempts from the previous year, although many are still pending cases,” Jackie Garrick, the office director, told the publication. “We hope it is a measure that we are getting our message out and people are seeking help.”

The figures in 2012 were record numbers.

Data gathered by the military show that most service members who kill themselves are white, male and never deployed. Forty-seven percent had relationship problems and 37 percent had job or legal problems.

Meanwhile, a survey of 4,000 post-9/11 veterans by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America found that about 33 percent of veterans have considered suicide. Forty-five percent say they know a veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan who has attempted suicide.