Active-Duty Military Suicides at Record Highs in 2018
January 30, 2019
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include Army year-end totals.
The U.S. military finished 2018 with a troubling, sad statistic: It experienced the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least six years.
Lt. Cmdr. Karen Downer writes a name on a Suicide Awareness Memorial Canvas in honor of Suicide Awareness Month at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Sept. 10, 2018. (U.S. Navy/Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville).Active duty Military members could save more with GEICO. Get a quote today! A total of 321 active-duty members took their lives during the year, including 57 Marines, 68 sailors, 58 airmen, and 138 soldiers.
The deaths equal the total number of active-duty personnel who died by suicide in 2012, the record since the services began closely tracking the issue in 2001.
Suicide continues to present a challenge to the Pentagon and the military services, which have instituted numerous programs to save lives, raise awareness and promote prevention. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, in his 2019 guidance to Marines released Friday, urged them to consider the lasting impact that a "permanent solution to a temporary problem" can have.
According to Air Force officials, 58 active-duty airmen took their lives, while three Reserve members died by their own hands. The number represents a decline from previous years, down from 63 in 2015 and 2017, and 61 in 2016, but is still troubling, said Brig. Gen. Michael Martin, director of Air Force Integrated Resilience.
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