September is National Suicide Prevention
September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. During this month everyone in the military community is reminded to watch out for each other. The Army released suicide data today for the month of July. During July, among active-duty soldiers, there were 26 potential suicides: one has been confirmed as suicide and 25 remain under investigation. For June, the Army reported 11 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers; since the release of that report, one case has been added for a total of 12 cases: two have been confirmed as suicides and 10 remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 116 potential active-duty suicides: 66 have been confirmed as suicides and 50 remain under investigation. Active-duty suicide number for 2011: 165 confirmed as suicides and no cases under investigation.
During July, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were 12 potential suicides (nine Army National Guard and three Army Reserve): one has been confirmed as suicide and 11 remain under investigation. For June, among that same group, the Army reported 12 potential suicides (nine Army National Guard and three Army Reserve): seven have been confirmed as suicides and five remain under investigation. The Army previously reported 10 Army National Guard and two Army Reserve cases for June. Subsequent to that report, one Army National Guard case was removed due to a change in manner of death to non-suicide and one Army Reserve case was added. For 2012, there have been 71 potential not on active-duty suicides (44 Army National Guard and 27 Army Reserve): 54 have been confirmed as suicides and 17 remain under investigation. Not on active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 118 (82 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve) confirmed as suicides and no cases under investigation.
“Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army. And, it’s an enemy that’s killing not just soldiers, but tens of thousands of Americans every year. That said, I do believe suicide is preventable. To combat it effectively will require sophisticated solutions aimed at helping individuals to build resiliency and strengthen their life coping skills. As we prepare for Suicide Prevention Month in September we also recognize that we must continue to address the stigma associated with behavioral health. Ultimately, we want the mindset across our force and society at large to be that behavioral health is a routine part of what we do and who we are as we strive to maintain our own physical and mental wellness,” said Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, vice chief of staff of the Army. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia said
"I believe each person has their own threshold of when they may need help or assistance. The moment that indicator lights up within yourself that (you) need some help and assistance or things are not right, … it is time to reach out.”
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 .