By Debbie Gregory.
There is good news and bad news milling about the DOD regarding the latest statistics as it pertains to the rate of military suicides. The newest data shows that suicides among active duty military is down across the board. However, suicides among members of the National Guard and Reserves has drastically increased.
The four military branches that fall under the jurisdiction of the DOD- Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force have gained headway in their battle against suicide. Several campaigns have been initiated, many of them involving outside agencies, designed to reduce and hopefully eradicate suicides within military ranks. Crisis lines, open door policies, increased morale initiatives and anonymous counseling are only a few of the measures taken by the military.
The results have been a gradual decline in suicides by active duty service members. From 2012 to 2013, the military saw a 15% total drop in suicides.
While each military branch can boast lower numbers in active duty suicides from the previous year, there are still alarming statistics that need to be addressed. The number of Army National Guard and Army Reservist suicides surpassed the number of active duty suicides. The number of Guard and Army Reservist suicides rose from 140 in 2012 to 152 in 2013.
A lesson that can be learned from these bitter-sweet statistics is that the suicide prevention measures appear to be making an impact. But the presence of these programs in the Guard and Reserve units is evidently lacking.
Most Guard and Reserve units usually only meet once a month, and only drill every few months. The members of these units do not have the same access to suicide prevention measures that active duty members have. These part-time warriors also are not under the same command supervision as their active duty counter-parts.
With these new suicide numbers, it is apparent that more outreach has to be focused on the members of the National Guard and Reserves. They need to be made aware of the resources and care available to them through the military.
Military Connection urges any active duty service member, Veteran, or member of the National Guard or Reserves who is considering suicide to seek the help they need. In case of emergency, please dial 911. For non-emergencies utilize the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line. Either follow the link, where you can live chat in a confidential instant message session, call at 1 (800) 273- 8255 [Press 1], or text at 838255.
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Military Connection: New Military Suicide Stats: By Debbie Gregory