Active-Duty Army Suicides Reach Highest Level Since 2012

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Photo: Stephen Baker/U.S. Army

The number of active-duty soldiers who took their own lives reached a five-year high in 2018, an Army spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose on Thursday.


The Army had 138 active-duty suicides during calendar year 2018, according to spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz, an increase from the 116 active-duty suicides the service reported in 2017, and the highest number of active-duty suicides in the Army since 2012 (It reported 165 active-duty suicides that year).

In total, the Army lost 300 soldiers to suicide in 2018; 47 were reservists and 115 were National Guardsmen.

"Like the rest of America, the Army continues to grapple with the loss of too many of our people to suicide," Army spokeswoman Col. Kathleen Turner said in a statement to Task & Purpose.

"The loss of any Soldier or Army Family member to suicide is a tragedy. While the Army has made progress, more work needs to be done. We must continue to ensure commanders have the policies and resources they need to prevent suicides, that all leaders have the tools to identify Soldiers who are suffering and to positively intervene, and that all Soldiers view seeking mental health care as a sign of strength."

The Army is not the only branch dealing with the problem of suicide. Suicides in the Marine Corps reached its highest level in a decade, while the Navy similarly reported a grim new record high in 2018.

If you're thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

SEE ALSO: Why I Fear America's Veteran Suicide Epidemic Is Going To Get Much Worse

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Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

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