The Annual Report on Suicide within the Army for 2021 exhibits a lower within the suicide charge for active-duty service members.
Secretary of Protection Lloyd J. Austin III mentioned in a written assertion that he is inspired to see the lower, however “we acknowledge we’ve got extra work to do.”
Fewer service members died by suicide in 2021 than in 2020 — 519 to 582. The suicide charge amongst active-duty troops decreased from 28.7 per 100,000 in 2020 to 24.3 per 100,000 in 2021. This can be a 15 % lower, Elizabeth Foster, the chief director of DOD’s Workplace of Pressure Resiliency, mentioned at a media briefing.
Liz Clark, director of the Protection Suicide Prevention Workplace, gave an outline of suicides. “There may be an growing pattern for all companies between 2011 and 2021,” she mentioned. “Within the brief time period, the Military charge [of suicides] was much like final 12 months, and there was a lower with the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Air Pressure. The Air Pressure was the one statistically important lower.”
Foster mentioned that all of those numbers is an individual and represents a household and a neighborhood that has been ceaselessly modified by the tragedy.
“Each demise by suicide is a tragedy that impacts our individuals, our army items and our readiness,” Austin mentioned. “That is why we stay dedicated to a complete and built-in strategy to suicide prevention.”
The secretary has already put in place a full-court press to tackle the problem of stopping suicides within the army. Austin has accredited the institution of a devoted prevention workforce to strengthen DOD efforts to handle suicide and different difficult areas. “That is been a significant effort standing up that workforce, however we’re hiring over 2,000 prevention personnel that might be stationed around the globe,” Foster mentioned. “That is a significant funding that is going to be a unbroken effort.”
“The size of this workforce is unprecedented and displays our dedication to make lasting change,” Austin mentioned.
Austin has mentioned many occasions since taking workplace that “psychological well being is well being — interval.” He sees no distinction between being handled for a damaged leg or for despair. “It is on all of us to finish the stigma of asking for assist and assist once we or somebody we all know is feeling distressed, anxious or remoted,” he mentioned. “Reaching out is a marker of energy and resilience.”
The secretary pressured the division won’t cease working to handle the foundation causes of this subject. “We additionally proceed efforts to enhance the standard of life for service members and their households, handle stigma as a barrier to looking for assist, and increase our security efforts for our service members and their households,” Austin mentioned. “Whereas we’ve got made progress in these areas, we should proceed to do extra.”
One a part of the hassle to fight suicide is the Suicide Prevention and Response Impartial Evaluation Committee to overview a number of installations — each stateside and abroad — and make actionable suggestions to stop suicide. This committee will make its first report in February, officers mentioned.
In analyzing the suicide statistics, the danger is best for younger, male, enlisted service members, officers mentioned. Whereas the suicide charge declined this 12 months, the charges have regularly elevated since 2011. This isn’t only a drawback within the army. The better U.S. inhabitants is seeing the identical rise, officers mentioned.
Reserve and Guard suicide charges fluctuate barely year-to-year, however general, there is no such thing as a growing or lowering pattern from 2011-2021, officers mentioned. “For the reserve and Nationwide Guard, the speed stayed pretty static from 2020 to 2021,” Foster mentioned. “Our army, household and dependent knowledge lags behind one 12 months attributable to entry to CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] knowledge, however the suicide charge for army households and dependents was the identical from 2019 to 2020.”
In 2020, 202 dependents died by suicide, together with 133 spouses and 69 different dependents. Private firearms have been the first technique of suicide deaths amongst service members and relations, officers mentioned.
“We have now essentially the most technologically superior army on this planet, however our service members are our most necessary useful resource as a preventing power,” Austin mentioned. “Psychological well being wellness and suicide prevention stay essential points to our success and the division’s enduring dedication to maintain our individuals.”