Army Suicide Rate Hits Tragic Peak
July's suicide rate was the worst month in recent Army history. There were 38 deaths either confirmed or suspected as suicides.
At this rate, the pace is surpassing 2011 - 116 deaths so far this year compared to 95 during the same months last year.
The current Army suicide rate seven months into this year is 29-deaths-per 100,000, which compares with a 2009 civilian rate of 18.5 for a demographically similar population.
One new pattern occurring in 2012 is that there are more suicides among veteran soldiers than among younger GIs. In 2012, there were 54 suicides among enlisted soldiers ranked sergeant or higher (not including officers ranked lieutenant or higher) compared to 46 among junior enlisted. In the past, the Army has viewed younger soldiers as being the most vulnerable, but it's possible that may be changing.
The July number of 38 suicides includes 26 among active-duty soldiers and 12 among National Guard soldiers.
In a recent interview with USA Today, Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, said suicides are now the most common form of death in the Army, claiming more lives than combat or motor vehicle accidents.
We have compiled much of this information below in an infographic. One chart shows the leading cause of active duty military deaths from 2009-2011.
We are deeply saddened to hear this tragic news, and hope the Army can get to the heart of these rising trends and reverse course immediately.