The Army released suicide data today for the month of November. Among active-duty soldiers, there were seven potential suicides: none have been confirmed as suicide and seven remain under investigation. For October 2011, the Army reported 17 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, four cases have been confirmed as suicide and 13 cases remain under investigation.
During November 2011, among Reserve Component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were eight potential suicides (eight Army National Guard and no Army Reserve): two have been confirmed as suicide and six remain under investigation. For October 2011, the Army reported 12 potential suicides among not-on-active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, one case has been added for a total of 13 cases (five Army National Guard and eight Army Reserve). Four cases have been confirmed as suicide and nine cases remain under investigation.
As of Nov. 30, 2011, the Army has identified 260 potential soldier suicides for CY 2011. Of that total, 154 were active duty suicides: 100 have been confirmed as suicide and 54 remain under investigation; 106 were Reserve Component not on active duty suicides (73 Army National Guard and 33 Army Reserve): 84 have been confirmed as suicide and 22 remain under investigation. Compared to previous years, the Army had 305 in CY 2010 (159 active-duty and 146 not-on-active-duty) and 242 in CY 2009 (162 active-duty and 80 not-on-active-duty).
"Suicide continues to be a challenge for our Army Family," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III. "It is a devastating loss when one of our own, whether soldier, civilian or family member, dies by suicide."Chandler also said that overcoming this challenge will take the Army's collective efforts, dedication, support and understanding. "To that end, I am calling on all of our leaders, but especially the noncommissioned officers, the backbone of our great Army, to make a difference. We must cultivate a climate that encourages help-seeking behaviors and supports those who ask for help," said Chandler. "By standing shoulder to shoulder, we can ensure that no one stands alone!"
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org .
Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r600_63.pdfand Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/p600_24.pdf .
The Army's comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located athttp://www.preventsuicide.army.mil .
Suicide prevention training resources for Army families can be accessed at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/training_sub.asp?sub_cat=20 (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).
Information about Military OneSource is located at http://www.militaryonesource.com or by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647 for those residing in the continental United States. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.
Information about the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at http://www.army.mil/csf .
The Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at Resources@DCoEOutreach.org and at http://www.dcoe.health.mil .
Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans