Pentagon: Suicide rate highest among members of the Army National Guard

Defense Department report says suicide was most common among members of the Army National Guard.
By Frances Burns  |  April 25, 2014 at 5:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- The highest suicide rates in the U.S. military in 2012 were found among young enlisted men with comparatively little education, the Defense Department said Friday.

In an annual report analyzing the patterns of suicide, officials also said the suicide rate was highest in 2012 among those serving in the National Guard. The rate was 22.7 per 100,000 among those on active duty, 19.3 for those serving in the Reserves and 28.1 in the National Guard.

The Army had the highest suicide rate among the services, followed by the Marines. The overall rate for the Army was 29.7 with the suicide rate for the Army National Guard 30.8 per 100,000.

Suicide rates dropped among older soldiers and those of higher rank. The rate for those between the age of 17 and 24 was 24.8 per 100,000 and for those in junior enlisted grades 26.6 per 100,000.

The rate was 50 per 100,000 for service members with high school equivalency diplomas.

The suicide rate was more than twice as high for men in the military than for women. It was only slightly higher for those who were single.

Almost half of those who killed themselves had seen a doctor for psychological problems and more than one-quarter had told someone they were considering suicide, the report said.

Officials said they are expanding their analysis of statistics on suicide in an effort to prevent military personnel from taking their own lives.

“Our most valuable resource within the department is our people,” said Jackie Garrick, director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. “We are committed to taking care of our people and this more comprehensive view will give the department a greater understanding of how to prevent suicides among all our men and women in uniform.”

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