Suicides Rise for Army Reserves and National Guard, Drop for Active-Duty Soldiers

Thursday, February 06, 2014
(AP photo)

The latest news on suicides in the U.S. Army was both promising and discouraging, as the number of suicides among active-duty personnel went down, but those involving National Guard and Army Reserves went up.


Overall, the total number of Army suicides declined from 325 in 2012 to 301 in 2013, representing the first reduction in more than a decade.


The Army reported about 150 active-duty soldiers committed suicide in 2013, down from 185 two years ago. The 2012 total of 325 was the highest on record.


But the good news was diminished by the fact that the number of suicides among those in the National Guard and Army Reserves increased from 140 in 2012 to 151 in 2013. Last year’s total comprised 98 in the Guard and 53 in the Army Reserves.


The new numbers have led some veterans’ advocates to wonder if enough was being done to help Guard members and reservists. When they’re not on active duty, these soldiers don’t have the same access to the new counseling services now in effect.


“Who is keeping track of those in the Guard?” Dr. Barbara van Dahlen told the Los Angeles Times. The psychologist and founder of Give an Hour, a nonprofit organization that provides counseling to soldiers, continued, “It’s a much more dispersed community, and [the Army] doesn’t have the resources to reach all those folks who might be struggling.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Suicide Rate Among Active-Duty Soldiers Falls Sharply (by David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times)

Suicides in the Army Decline Sharply (by Gregg Zoroya, USA Today)

U.S. Military Suicides Outnumbered Combat Deaths in Afghanistan in 2012 (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

Army and Navy Set Suicide Records (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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