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JBLM Soldier suicides show first decline since 2007

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Reflecting an Army-wide trend, yesterday’s Tacoma News Tribune reported that Joint Base Lewis-McChord had a slight decline in Soldier suicides in 2013.

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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Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting the troops.



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