Number of suicides in Army drops in 2013

The number of suicides in the Army dropped last year, compared to 2012, according to the Army deputy chief of staff, G-1.

Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg said there were 301 suicides in the Army in 2013, while in 2012, there were 325 suicides Army-wide.

“We have seen an aggregate drop in suicides, and while not a declaration of success, it could indicate resiliency efforts are starting to take hold across the force,” he said. “Ultimately, the Army acknowledges there is more work to do.”

The figures are for the total Army — the active Army, the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

Last year, 125 of the suicides were in the active Army; 117 in the Army National Guard; and 59 in the Army Reserve. For 2012, 165 of the suicides were in the active Army; 110 in the Army National Guard; and 50 in the Army Reserve.

Because of the complexity of the issue, the Army said it is difficult to identify specific reasons for the decrease. It is also difficult to determine what efforts might have contributed to the change. According to Bromberg, the Army’s aggressive promotion of “help-seeking” behaviors may have something to do with it.

“I am optimistic that more Soldiers are seeking help and learning ways to address and cope with issues they may have,” Bromberg said. “It’s about what the Army is doing to prepare Soldiers.”

“We are enhancing ways to recognize what Soldiers need to make them stronger and more resilient,” he added.

In addition to its Ready and Resilient Campaign, which is designed to promote resilience and improve readiness, the Army has expanded access to behavioral health services, increased pre- and post-deployment screenings to improve the diagnosis and treatment of Soldiers, and is focused on identifying and treating traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.