The Defense Suicide Prevention Office just released its first Quarterly Report of 2018, the purpose of which is to summarize suicide counts and annual rates for the Active Component, Reserves, and National Guard in a timely manner in order to support suicide prevention efforts. This is the latest of several suicide reports released by both the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs in that last month, once again highlighting the need for continued vigilance in combating suicide among troops and veterans– IAVA’s #1 priority of our Big 6 Policy Priorities for 2018.
The following are statistics from the report and comparisons to the same statistics in Q1 of 2017:
Total deaths: 80 (up from 75)
Air Force: decrease of 9
Army: increase of 2
Marine Corps: increase of 5
Navy: increase of 7
Total Deaths: 18 (down from 21)
Air Force Reserve: decrease of 2
Army Reserve: unchanged
Marine Corps Reserve: decrease of 1
Navy Reserve: unchanged
Total Deaths: 23 (down from 32)
Army National Guard: decrease of 10
Air National Guard: increase of 1
The increase in deaths by suicide in the Active Component as compared to 2017 shows that there is still much work to be done. The DoD “Be There” program offers confidential peer coaching to Active Duty Service members, including National Guard and Reserve members and their families, through 24/7 chat, phone, and text. The DoD “BeThere” Peer Support Call and Outreach Center is staffed by peer coaches, who are Veteran Service members and family members of Veterans, and aims to provide support for everyday problem solving, such as career and general life challenges. Service members’ families who would like to learn more about the “BeThere” Call and Outreach Center or connection with a peer may visit www.betherepeersupport.org, call 844-357-PEER (7337), or text 480-360-6188.
We know veteran suicide is a top concern for IAVA members which is why it’s part of IAVA’s Big 6. You can take action here to let your Congressional representatives know that combating suicide needs to remain their top concern as well.