Army suicide hit highest rate since Great Depression
April 7, 2022

In 2021, the Army suffered 176 deaths from suicide, up from 174 suicides in 2020. According to a study done by the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2021’s suicide toll of 176 is not the highest number of suicides seen in a year, but the rate of 36.18 per 100,000 is the highest percentage of Soldiers taking their own lives since 1938.

Suicide numbers and rates per component
  • Army Reserve: 45 suicides at a rate of 24.4 per 100,000
  • Army National Guard: 101 Suicides at a rate of 29.92 per 100,000
  • Regular Army: 176 suicides at a rate of 36.18 per 100,000

According to US Army Public Affairs, the Army intends to roll out a new public-health based approach to suicide that falls in line with suicide prevention methods utilized by the Center for Disease Control. These new policies would have a heavier focus on prevention than intervention

The Army’s website predicts that the new Army Suicide Prevention Program would see publication “in the first quarter of 2022.” The Army made first mention of this regulation in 2020. In September of 2021, the Army declared a that it would be published no later than fall of that year. That November, the Army promised publication by the end of this March.

Army Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Joseph M. Martin lead an initiative in November of last year to “chain-teach” the Army Suicide Prevention Program. The chain-teach approach is designed to touch every Soldier in a leadership position with in-person training.

Deputy Chief of Staff, G1, Lt. Gen. Gary A. Brito said, “The chain teach event is to strengthen the Army’s focus on prevention. This initiative will enable a shared understanding of the importance of fostering healthy unit and community cultures and developing a sense of connection among all members of the Army family. We will do this by building cohesive teams, enhancing resilience, and addressing individual challenges early, before they become crises.”

Army active duty was scheduled to complete this training by the start of this month. Army Reservists are scheduled to complete the training by September of this year.

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