Although all branches of the military have rolled out many plans, programs, and policies since 2005, when self-inflicted troop deaths began to escalate, the average rate of suicides remains just under one per hour, every day, every month.
While an end-of-year report has not been published by the Department of Defense, various Army studies show that roughly half of the reported suicides involved Soldiers who had yet to deploy to a war zone; reports most find puzzling.
According to numbers provided to the News Tribune by officials at JBLM:
As many as 12 soldiers at the base took their own lives last year, down from 13 in each of the two previous years, according to the I Corps.
Two of the deaths are confirmed as suicides and 10 remain under investigation.
While the numbers appear to have held fairly steady, Lewis-McChord’s stateside population grew by a lot between 2012 and 2013.
In the last two years, JBLM hosted several suicide prevention programs. In a bold move in 2012, it halted “normal business” for a week and had soldiers visit suicide prevention programs around the base.
On other bases, the Army Suicide Prevention program is also having a positive impact. The massive post at Fort Hood, Texas, had a decrease of 20 suicides in 2012, to just seven in 2013.
- It takes the courage and strength of a Soldier to ask for help. If you are in an emotional crisis call 1-800-273-TALK.
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