Sunday, June 1, 2008

Suicide and the US Army

I'm sure most of you have seen the AP story about the rise in suicides in the US Army.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Army suicides increased again last year, amid the most violent year yet in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. An Army official said Thursday that 115 troops committed suicide in 2007, a nearly 13 percent increase over the previous year's 102. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because a full report on the deaths wasn't being released until later Thursday.

Finding stats to work with takes some googling. Most of what I could find online was for FY 2005.

From I found that the suicide rate in the US was 11.0 nation wide in 2005.

Also in 2005, there were 512,400 Active Duty US Army personnel. Note that I said "Active Duty"; that figure doesn't count the US Army reserve, the National Guard units or any civilian personnel.

That same AP article mentions there were 85 suicides in 2005.

That's a rate of 16.59 suicides per 100,000 for the Army compared to, again, 11 per 100,000 for the United States.

Given that the suicide rate for the Army is higher than the general population, I wonder if there's been a corresponding increase in the suicide rate in the general population which is simply reflected in the Army statistics, or if the Army's experiences in Iraq are becoming more of a factor than they were in past years.

No comments: