Tag Archives: suicides

Military suicides flat for first quarter of 2014

By SB Anderson

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.

Military suicides Q1 2014 v. Q1 2013SOURCE: 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.

Military suicides down a bit in 2013, but up a bit so far in 2014

By SB Anderson

Military suicides fell about 8% in 2013, final numbers release by the Pentagon today show. Decreases were across the service branches among active duty components, but were up in most reserve components (see tables below).

Suicides among Army reservists increased the most — 5% — and the suicide rate among those reservists was up nearly 20%.

The decrease in 2013 followed a sharp spike in 2012, despite troop drawdowns and a drop in casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The final 2013 data was released in what the Pentagon said would now be a new quarterly report.

The first quarterly report for 2014 has yet to be released. A U.S. Army Freedom of Information Act officer, in response to a Medill FOIA request for the 2014 and December 2013 Army suicide data filed in the Spring, said in an e-mail earlier today that the report is “currently in the last stages of approval.”

However, the AP reported today based on top-level data it obtained from the Pentagon that total suicides across military branches are up slightly in the first half of 2014 compared to 2013. “Pentagon documents show there were 161 confirmed or suspected suicides as of July 14, compared to 154 during the same time frame in 2013,” the AP reported. “Officials say that more service members are seeking help through hotlines and other aid programs,” the AP also said.

Data that Medill records based on monthly releases by the Marines and Navy show active duty Navy suicides up by 40 percent in the first six months of this year (35 vs. 25) and a larger percentage increase for reservists (6 total vs. 2 in 2013).

Data from the Marines through June shows a slight increase (28 vs. 23) in confirmed or probable suicides, and a decrease in attempted suicides (103 vs. 135).

The U.S. Army used to release suicide statistics monthly, but stopped that practice after releasing November 2013 data, and has released nothing since. The Army said it was discontinuing monthly reports so it could be in sync with the new Pentagon quarterly reports. The Navy and Marines still release monthly data; Air Force have not been readily available on anything but an annual basis.

DOD military suicides 2013

SOURCE: Department of Defense

Suicide total and rate changes

SOURCE: NSJI calculations using DOD data

Navy, Marines suicides fell in 2013; attempted suicides by Marines jumped

By SB Anderson

Suicides in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps were down in 2013 from the year before, year-end data released by both military branches in recent days shows. The number of attempted suicides in the Marines was up significantly, however.

In the Marines, there were 45 suicides in 2013, down slightly from 48 in 2013. The number of attempted suicides reported was up 28%, ending the year at 229. (Document from Marines)

The Navy’s numbers for December put the year’s total at 44 active duty personnel and 3 reserves. That is a 25% drop over 2012’s 59 for active duty and half as many reservists (6 in 2012). (Document with Navy’s 2013 report)

Suicides in the U.S. Army has been trending lower thorough November, with about 42 fewer confirmed suicides than 2012 among active duty and inactive reserve personnel combined. The number of potential suicides among inactive duty personnel, however, was up about 10%.

December data for the Army is due to be released by the end of this month.

Month-by-month charts | View and download data in a spreadsheet we maintain.

Below: Marine Corps data.

USMC 2013 Data

SOURCE: United States Marine Corps

New studies released on military suicides and sexual assault at military academies

By SB Anderson

Two studies released in recent days interest to national security reporters:

  • Suicide by male veterans aged 18-29 is up dramatically, the VA said in an update of its 2012 report on suicide among veterans. The rate for those seeking care from the VA rose from 40 per 1,000 in 2009 to 58% in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.

    “This is awful and alarming news,” Paul Rieckhoff, the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said.

    Overall, the number of veterans taking their own lives has remained steady, at about 22 per day.

    Update on the 2012 VA Suicide Report  | Original 2012 report | LA Times story | VA release


SOURCE: VA report.

  • Reports of sexual  assaults at the three major U.S. military academies was down about 10% last year, dropping from 80 to 70, a new VA report said. About two in three of the assaults were at the Air Force Academy.Alcohol remains “a significant factor” in the assaults. “Of the 34 investigations of Unrestricted Reports completed during APY 12-13, 11 (32%) involved the use of alcohol by one or more parties,” the report said.  (Unrestricted reports are those made to command or law enforcement vs. restricted reports, in which the victim receives confidential care but there is no investigation).

    The latest report. | Other reports and releases available at DOD’s main sexual assault site.  | AP story | Related: Sexual assault charges dropped at Annapolis

Army suicides continue slight decline

By SB Anderson

Suicides reported by the U.S. Army continued what has become a slow decline for the year to date, with new data for September showing the fewest self-inflicted deaths so far in 2013.

Nine potential suicides were reported among active duty soldiers and 8 by non-active reserve troops, for a total of 17 for the month. Only 1 of those 17 had been confirmed; the others are still under investigation.

So far this year, 227 potential suicides have been reported, about evenly split between active duty and inactive reserves. That is about 20 fewer than a year ago, or just under a 10% decline. This September vs. last September shows a drop of just under half. Non-active reservist make up a higher percentage of the potential suicides than a year ago, about half now vs. 40%.

Data for the Army, Navy and Marines is available for analysis and download in this spreadsheet maintained by Medill National Security Zone.

SOURCE: National Security Zone from U.S. Army Data.

U.S. Army suicides through August

By SB Anderson

U.S. Army suicides are down slightly over a year ago, but more inactive reserve soldiers continue taking their lives than their active duty counterparts. That trend began earlier this year and is not necessarily surprising given the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan. The army released the data on Friday,  a week or so later than usual.

The total of potential active duty suicides this year exceeds the number of Army casualties so far in Afghanistan, which stood at 92 this week, according to the the Pentagons’ Defense Casualty Analysis System.

Additional year-to-date data available on Medill National security Zone for the U.S. Marines and Navy.

U.S. Army Suicides

Army suicides through August 2013National Security Journalism Initiative chart based on U.S. Army data



Army’s July suicide numbers released

By SB Anderson

Below are the running totals for U.S. Army suicides, updated with numbers for July that were released on Friday. The chart below compares totals so far this year with the those in July of 2012.

The gap between suicides of inactive duty reserves vs. those on active duty changed slightly, with active duty once again for the second month in a row slightly higher. For several months, numbers of inactive duty had been growing faster — not necessarily surprising given the ongoing combat zone troop drawdown. Still, to date, there is a nearly 30% increase in inactivite duty suicides compared to 2012, while active duty have declined about 15%.

Visit National Security Zone’s data dashboard for details on other service branches, as well as a link to review or download the database we’ve built of the suicide data.

Earlier stories on military suicides.

SOURCE: On the Beat compilation of U.S. Army data.