Military Suicides Are Up, Despite 900 Prevention Programs

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | March 21, 2013

The Defense Department runs 900 suicide prevention programs, yet the number of military suicides has more than doubled since 2001, the head of the Pentagon’s suicide prevention office told lawmakers Thursday.

Jacqueline Garrick, acting director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, told the House Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon has identified 291 suicides in fiscal 2012 with investigations into another 59 pending. This is up from 160 in 2001. She said the suicide rate for 2012 is expected to increase once death investigations have been completed and a final manner of death determination is issued.

Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, Army deputy chief of staff for personnel, said the service had a record number of 324 potential suicides in 2012, more than double the previous record of 148 in 2009. Both Garrick and Bromberg said the military suicide profile matched that of suicides in the general population -- young, white males younger than 30 with only a high school education.