March 20, 2016
“If it wasn’t for social media, we never would have known what was going on in his head and he would have gone through with [suicide],” Boyd told Military Times during a phone interview from Uganda, where he is deployed with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa.
The Defense Department as been at the forefront of some notable suicide research, especially in the realm of social media.
Marine Corps Sgt. Raheem Boyd was in his barracks room at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, last May when a friend sent him an urgent message through Facebook. Another Marine had made some troubling posts, and while Boyd can’t recall the exact words, they hinted at suicide.
“It seemed strange," he recalled. "Just didn’t seem right."
Boyd, who knew the Marine from a previous assignment in Okinawa, immediately looked up the command’s phone number, dialed the duty office and headed to find the devil dog. The Marine’s barracks room was empty but a search was underway. Someone spotted him in his car in the parking lot with an assault rifle beside him. But as the searchers approached the vehicle, the troubled service member took off.
The Defense Department has not released an official tally of suicides among active-duty troops in 2015, but a Pentagon source with access to the data said the number was close to 290, including the 28 confirmed suicides by Marines from January through October. While the number of active-duty suicides has remained somewhat steady since it reached a peak of 321 in 2012, the rate — nearly 20 per 100,000 troops in 2014 — remains significantly higher than before Sept. 11, 2001, when it hovered around 10 per 100,000 service members, and the military appeared to offer protective measures against a rising suicide trend in the U.S. civilian population.
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The math doesn't work on that part unless they are not adding in the National Guards and Reservists.
In the first quarter of 2015, there were 57 suicides among service members in the active component, 15 suicides among service members in the reserve component and 27 suicides among service members in the National Guard. (99)Second Quarter
In the second quarter of 2015, there were 71 suicides among service members in the active component, 20 suicides among service members in the reserve component and 27 suicides among service members in the National Guard. (118)Third Quarter
In the third quarter of 2015, there were 72 suicides among service members in the active component, and 70 suicides in the reserve component, which includes 38 suicides among reserve service members and 32 suicides among service members in the National Guard. (142)