Suicides remain an issue for Army

January 26, 2011

Washington – Suicides of non-active-duty reservists increased significantly in 2010 even as the Army saw a decrease in suicides among active-duty soldiers for the first time in six years, the Department of Defense announced Jan. 19.

Among active-duty soldiers, 156 potential suicides were reported, down slightly from 162 in 2009, according to a DoD press release. But in the National Guard and Army Reserve, 145 potential suicides were recorded, 106 of which have been confirmed. That total is up from 80 in 2009.

“Our research and analysis of the suicide cases of this past year continue to reinforce that there are no universal solutions to address the complexities of personal, social and behavioral health issues that lead to suicide within the Army,” Col. Chris Philbrick, deputy director of the Army Health Promotion, Risk Reduction Task Force, said in the release.

He went on to say unit leaders, supervisors and friends should watch for risky behavior and reach out to soldiers who need help.

Last year, an Army report on suicides (.pdf file) linked at-risk behavior to stressors such as relationship problems and work stress. A DoD task force also advised (.pdf file) the Army to establish a policy office to streamline suicide prevention efforts.