Suicides in the military were about the same in the first three months of this year compared to 2013, data from a new quarterly report from the Pentagon shows.
Data from the report by the Defense Suicide Prevention Office shows 120 suicides among active duty forces in the first quarter, two fewer than a year earlier. For the Air Force, however, suicides more than doubled, from 7 to 19. Naval reserve suicides were up sharply year-to-year, from 0 in 2013 to 5 in the first quarter of this year.
Since the end of the first quarter, reported suicides in the Navy have increased compared to a year ago and, through the end of August, were almost at the same level as full-year 2013. Monthly reports from the Navy show 40 active duty suicides wile on active duty vs. 30 a year ago, with 9 reserve suicides compared to 2 through Aug. 2013.
Through July for the Marines, there were 29 suicides reported on monthly reports, the same number as a year ago at that time. Attempted suicides were down significantly — 127 vs. 176.
SOURCE: Aggregated from Department of Defense quarterly report.
The report for the first quarter of 2014 was the second released under a new system that aimed to consolidate separate monthly reports from each service branch .The first was released earlier this summer and covered calendar year 2013.
For years, the Army each month released suicide statistics that included potential, under investigation and confirmed suicides by active duty and reserves. Those reports stopped without notice after Nov. 2013 data was released, leaving Army data for 2013 incomplete until the new quarterly reports began this summer with the release of full-year 2013 statistics. And Friday’s first quarterly report for 2014 includes the first Army data of the year; the Marines and Navy still release monthly statistics, as noted above. The Air Force had not had readily available monthly statistics.
“When you report monthly, the numbers are very unstable. It takes several months for a death investigation to be completed, which leads to confusion and isn’t helpful,” Defense Suicide Prevention Office Director Jacqueline Garrick told the ArmyTimes in a story on Friday.