Deployment and Suicide Link Weakens
The U.S. Department of Defense released its 2014 calendar year Suicide Event Report last week indicating a weakening in the correlation between deployment and suicide rates amongst defense force personnel.
In 2014, there were 269 deaths by suicide among active component defense service members (compared to 259 deaths by suicide in 2013). There were 169 deaths by suicide among the reserves and National Guard in 2014 (compared to 220 deaths by suicide in 2013).
There were no statistically significant differences between the 2014 and 2013 figures, however, there was a statistically significant reduction in the prevalence of deployment history.
The suicide rate per 100,000 in 2014 was 19.9 for active component service members, 21.9 for the reserve, and 19.4 for National Guard.
The most common demographic characteristics for Service members who died by suicide included:
• Gender: Male
• Race: White/Caucasian
• Ethnicity: Non-Hispanic
• Age: Under 30 years of age
• Military Grade: Enlisted (E1–E9)
• Education: High-school graduate or below
The most common methods of suicide included the use of firearms (68.3 percent) and hanging (24.9 percent). The majority of firearms that were used were not military-issued.
Failed relationships (42.0 percent) and administrative/legal issues (32.7 percent) in the 90 days prior to suicide were the most frequently cited psychosocial stressors. A history of deployment was identified in 153 cases (54.4 percent).
There were 1,126 suicide attempts reported from the four services. The most common method of attempting suicide was the use of drugs (illicit or prescription) and/or alcohol (56.2 percent).
The report is available here.