Army Releases July Suicide Data
The Army released suicide data for the month of July today. Among active-duty soldiers there were eight potential suicides in July. In June, the Army reported no confirmed suicides and nine potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the June report, four of the nine potential suicides have been confirmed and five remain under investigation.
There have been 96 reported active-duty Army suicides during the period Jan. 1, 2009 – July 31, 2009. Of these, 62 have been confirmed, and 34 are pending determination of manner of death. For the same period in 2008, there were 79 suicides among active-duty soldiers.
During July 2009, among reserve component soldiers not on active duty, there were four potential suicides. During the period Jan. 1, 2009 – July 31, 2009, among that same group, there have been 17 confirmed suicides and 28 potential suicides; the potential suicides are currently under investigation to determine the manner of death. For the same period in 2008, there were 32 suicides among reserve soldiers not on active duty.
The Army's Suicide Prevention Task Force has implemented a number of improvements to the Army's health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention programs in recent weeks. These include completion of major revisions to Army health promotion policy and augmenting behavioral health staffs at many installations to enhance access to counseling services for soldiers and families.
"It's not that the Army lacks programs to confront the problem of suicide," said Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director, Army Suicide Prevention Task Force. "The long-term challenge is determining which programs are most effective for our soldiers and ensuring Army leaders, from junior non-commissioned officers to the most senior leaders, know how to help their soldiers take advantage of these programs."
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance should contact Military OneSource or the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach Center. Trained consultants are available from both organizations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The Military OneSource toll-free number for those residing in the continental U.S. is 1-800-342-9647, their Web site address is http://www.militaryonesource.com . Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource Web site for dialing instructions for their specific location.
The 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/resourcesx .
The Army's most current suicide prevention information is located at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide/ . Suicide is a true tragedy. Military suicides are a national tragedy. We commend the Army for their outreach to prevent suicides. We also commend the Army for acknowledging there is a problem and trying to put programs in place to solve this serious problem. The Army's Suicide Prevention Task Force is trying to address this issue. There are mental health resources in place and mentioned within this article to help those in need. If you or someone you know is having problems, it is important to be proactive and do something to help sooner than later. MilitaryConnection.com also commends groups such as GiveAnHour.org. This is a network of over 4000 mental health professionals that provide free counseling to those who serve past and present. They also provide pro bono services to family members, friends and others that may not be covered by the military and veteran healthcare systems. GiveAnHour.org's services are private and free. We also commend Triwest for the excellent services that they provide to all those who serve. If and when a tragedy such as suidide or a death occurs, we are proud of the servides provided by our good friends at TAPS.org. They are professional grief counselors and know how to help. It takes everyone joining forces to find solutions and to help those in need.