The Count: 100,000 +

UPDATED SUICIDE STATISTICS (as of Sept. 15, 2013)

*Editor’s note:

It appears DoD/VA leaders have ordered an end to regular, scheduled public disclosures of suicide data.

The 113th Congress seems disinterested, distracted or unwilling to demand transparency on the continued rise in veteran and active military suicides.

Therefore, The Military Suicide Report can no longer present up-to-date suicide numbers here with any confidence.

However … based on what has been previously reported by VA, DoD, and other government sources, it is certain more than 100,000 veterans and active military have died from suicide since Sept. 11, 2001.(source: US Dept of Veterans Affairs, US Center for Disease Control)

Should these department leaders decide for some strange reason to resume regular public disclosure of suicide data, this page will again be updated to reflect the reported suicide data from VA/DoD.

Total Force (T) / Active (A) / Reserve (R) / Guard (G) / Inactive Reserve (I)

Confirmed Suicides Completed*

2012

Army – 281(T) / 167(A) / 38(R) 76(G)
Navy – unknown(T) / 53(A)
Air Force – 83(T) / 56(A) / 27(R)(G)
Marine Corps – unknown(T) / 45(A)

Veterans – 6,066**

2011

Army – 283(T) / 165(A) / 118(R)(G)
Navy – unknown
Air Force – unknown
Marine Corps – unknown(T) / 33(A)

Veterans – 7,381***

2010

Army – 305(T) / 159(A) / 146(R)(G)
Navy – unknown(T) / 39(A) / 4(R)(G)
Air Force – unknown
Marine Corps – unknown(T) / 37(A)

Veterans – 7,672***

2009

Army – 239(T) / 162(A) / 77(R)(G)
Navy – 53(T) / 47(A) / 6(R)(G)
Air Force – unknown(T) / 34(A)
Marine Corps – unknown(T) / 52(A)

Veterans – 7,381***

*Data for members of the Inactive Ready Reserve are not tracked or reported by DoD

** Based on VA/CDC estimates of 18 suicides per day in U.S. veterans population

*** Based on CDC data that 20 percent of all U.S. suicides are by veterans

SUICIDE ATTEMPTS

2012

Army – unknown
Navy – unknown
Air Force – unknown
Marine Corps – unknown(T) / 157(A)

2011

Army – unknown
Navy – unknown
Air Force – unknown
Marine Corps – unknown(T) / 171(A)

2010

Army – unknown(T) / 231(A)
Navy – unknown(T) / 58(A)
Air Force – unknown(T) / 241(A)
Marine Corps – unknown(T) / 164(A)

2009

Army – unknown
Navy – unknown
Air Force – unknown
Marine Corps – unknown

24 Responses

  1. can’t help but wonder: how many of these deaths are the result of a man getting divorced. he’s literally betrayed by the one person he was supposed to be able to trust forever.

  2. I am trying to find the suicide rate and individual deaths at March AFB, Riverside, CA. Airman in the 22 Security Police Squadron died somtime betwenn 1977 – 1980.

  3. Thank you Martin Cleary for your work with our veterans. I hope you and those like you continue your work, as it is so very important! Your reward shall be in the future of these young men and women. You truly hit the nail on the head when you talked about this issue. Alcohol serves as a “tool of coping” for so many of these veterans. I would be curious to know how many suicides were “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs. I bet the number is extremely high. That gives the veteran the numbing effect they so desperately want to escape the PTSD but in turn allows them the chance to finally be numb enough to escape through the trigger of a gun. A heartbreaking situation for all those involved. Thank you again for your dedication to these heroes.

  4. As a registered nurse working at Landstuhl army hospital in Germany with our soldiers returning from Afghanistan I was also given the opportunity to do a second unpaid job. I attended meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous on the base where many soldiers attended meetings as part of their recovery process. A substance abuse problem exists in the Army and is often the reason why many commit suicide. Many so-called experts like the Institute for health and others released reports documenting how the problem should be addressed. Yet I never once met any of these people actually doing anything other than issuing reports. The hands-on business of helping the soldiers is left to people like me on a unpaid and voluntary basis. Unfortunately for me without any explanation I was fired by the Army and returned to the United States. This also happened to many of the other volunteers. If the Department of Defense wishes to address suicide and addiction they need to wake up. Stop listening to the experts and ask the people who are doing the work such as the volunteers like myself.I find it disconcerting that the so-called experts almost never visit the soldiers involved receive the highest salaries and produce nothing of substance. You’re sincerely Martin F. Cleary. Registered nurse state of New York. PS what I would like is for people like myself to and the other volunteers in Alcoholics Anonymous to be allowed to continue our work and to have some input into how the suicide of our soldiers can be addressed.

  5. Once again, with the end of the month coming to a close, the DoD has still not provided the suicide report for the prior month (Dec, 2012) much less the 12 month end of year suicide report for the Active, Guard, and Reserve forces of the Army. Though part of it was obtained and released by an AP reporter mid-Jan, the full report is still hidden from the public. With the fact that an AP reporter was able to obtain at least a partial report-albeit from a FOIA request, the information is obviously known by the Army-and the Dod. So the question is why it has not been released officially. Is there a lack of interest among the public? After searching and searching for evidence that others are as concerned about the delays in making available this information, as a few of us do, there seems to be little to indicate that the general public is very concerned. That in and of itself should raise a flag to every American citizen, as it does for those of us who are fighting for the lives of our serving and formerly serving military members.

    If you are as concerned about the failure of the Army and Dod to make public, in a timely manner the monthly suicide reports, I would recommend that you call the Army PAO “George Wright” at 703-692-1580 and ask him why there is a delay, and when you can expect that the information will be released, as it has been already to a reporter, to the general public.

    • BOHICA
      As the duty day for 28 Jan, 2013 is coming to a close the Army suicide totals for Dec 2012, and for calendar year 2012 have not been reported. This afternoon, a representative for the DoD PAO said that thy had planned to report it today, but as they did not get to work until after noon, that it would be delayed. It must be a very complicated process indeed I guess for them to hit “send” on a report that was written more than a week and a half ago.

      However, today’s bit of weather aside-I have to ask why wasn’t it posted more than a week ago?.

      Could it be that they are still trying to figure out how to spin the report this time. If you take a look at each months suicide report, you will find that they are never very consistent in their wording. More interesting, and like political talking point spins, is the verbiage, used to create a pettifog to take your attention from the hard facts-and lure you to their sad pronouncement which details “all of their (failed) efforts to reduce the numbers of troops taking themselves out”.

      There is no consistency either in the reporting of the Army suicide statistics, much less any consistency between the combined branches of service. This is a report that should be spin free-hard facts and delivered consistently each month at a specified time.

      Each of us should be calling for accurate, consistent, and timely reporting-because if nothing else it demonstrates that we care.

      CPT Blackadder

    • The DoD does not intend to provide the Army Suicide Report CY 2012 which includes the Dec suicide totals which were supposed to be released during the middle of the month, i.e., mid Jan. The release date is supposedly late Fri, 1 Feb. No reason was given for not releasing the numbers, which are known to them. I suspect, just as they have demonstrated in the past when news is bad, is that they are trying perfect the spin that will be created in order to distract readers from the harsh realities regrading suicides among Army personnel.

      CPT Blackadder

      • Typically, the handlers of unfavorable agency news for public consumption will time the release of such information to coincide with a major “competing” news event. This tactic ensures minimal reporting, by a distracted news industry.

  6. My name is Jennifer and I’m a reporter with a television news network in the U.S. I am looking to interview the family of a veteran who was hospitalized at a VA facility for mental healthcare reasons but then wasn’t followed up with in a timely manner after discharge from the VA Hospital. Please e-mail me at: plssharemystory @ gmail.com

  7. My heart is breaking.. As a mother of a Marine, I feel like we sit and wait on a ticking time bomb. What you don’t see behind the “family” lines is the desperate phone calls to anyone and everyone with any authority to listen, begging for help. You search for help for someone that doesn’t think he needs help. You beg, you pray and you pray some more! And then you wait…… it is hell on earth!

    • Dear PJ, I am a military mom. I haven’t been through what you are going through but I know others that have. Do you have any support groups or friends that are going through the same? Sometimes it’s just so helpful to vent. I’m familiar with a few different online / facebook groups that seek to help vets when they aren’t getting the help they need from the VA or the military. Let me know if I can help. Keri

      • Thank you Keri! I am in contact with friends that have gone through this and I belong to several groups on FB. I never thought we would have to pray harder for our children when they returned from war then when they were at war! It is a roller-coaster ride and my heart is breaking for our veterans and their families! I want them to survive long enough to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it does get better…. thanks again for your reply!

  8. As a Vietnam War airborne officer and recent VA clinical psychologist retiree, I have worked with hundreds of suicidal vets from every war since WWI (no instances of consummated suicide in any of the group, family or individual treatment). To all those readers who have lost a loved one through suicide or related causes–much underreported, such as severe depression and compromised physical health, substance abuse, or repeatedly deliberately placing oneself in high risk situations–you have my heartfelt condolences. I have noticed several things about suicide from the military that you won’t read about to any great extent in the literature or media. First, no matter how severe the physical and/or psychological problems, almost 100% of the vets would return to combat duty if given a chance. Fidelity and willingness to sacrifice never ended. And second, almost always, the love of family and friends, although often unexpressed or shown in problems such as PTSD-related symptoms, was the bonding force of love and caring that connected them what was real and good in life. As a dark force, whether suicide thoughts, attempts, or completions, the opportunity for wholeness of the surviving vet or family can be transformed into wholeness and meaning and service to others.

  9. At 25 years of age our son SGT. Dylan Fisher had completed 38 months of active combat with the Army. Shortly after returning home from his 3rd tour, he married unexpectedly. He told us they had done a surprise inspection of the single soldier housing, of which he was moving out of to the married soldier housing. His house was found to be unacceptable and he was given an Article 15, which made him an unpromotable soldier and effectively ended his Army carreer. As we have been gathering information, it seems he was just 4-5 days late after his deadline of moving out of the single soldier housing, yet because of this his beloved part time job was stripped from him. He was sent to have an abcessed tooth pulled the morning of his adjudication, and then on Friday afternoon, without a councellor or battle buddy or family member, his nearly 9 year stint in the Army ended with this Article 15. He promptly went from the Adjudication to a wooded area of Ft. Leonard Wood and shot himself in the head. I have to add that just 8 weeks earlier he was here with us at home for a month, was tired but normal, doing normal family things and celebrating mine and his birthdays. What happened, what they did to him in those 8 weeks to make him so hopeless and feel so friendless???

    • Dear Karen, I am so sorry for your loss of Dylan, and just saying, “I’m sorry” doesn’t even begin to really express what I’m feeling reading about your son and what happened to him. I have another friend named Sheri who lost her son this past June due to PTSD / suicide. I can’t truly understand what you’re going through (I am a military mom but have not gone through this), but I know Sheri would be willing to talk if you need to. Just write me back or something if you want to share, or vent or cry.. I’m so sorry. Keri

  10. Please add my son, US Army Veteran Andrew E. Cogswell to your list. Andrew passed away in Bellevue, NE on May 31, 2012 at the young age of 23. You won’t find him included in any official counts because his attempts during active duty were circumvented. A year prior to his death Andrew reported to his NCO that twice during deployment he had his M4 locked and loaded with the intention of “eating a bullet”, but managed to pull himself back from the brink. Post deployment he followed through on his attempt shortly before his ETS date, but was circumvented. Then eight months after his ETS date came Andrew’s third and successful attempt to end his suffering. Andrew was found wearing his Army uniform. He had the Army creed displayed on the computer next to him. A letter he wrote to his NCO detailing the trauma that haunted him day and night was on the desk beside him along with memorabilia from Iraq. His message was crystal clear. It was not “societal” issues that drove him to his death. It was the Army.

    • There were actually two attempts stateside prior to Andrew’s ETS date and they were just days apart. Both times someone intervened.

    • Dear Mrs. Cogswell, Vienna, AUSTRIA

      Please accept my sympathy and regrets for the tragic, untimely and unnecessary death of your brave and honest son Andrew. In all likelihood, he was the victim of long-term military mobbing and hazing so malicious and persistent that death was his only escape; the chain-of-command in almost all of these cases actually promotes the suicide syndrome of hazing and targeting of innocent soldiers rather than protecting them. The unfortunate victims number in the thousands – the combined result of decades of aggressive, illegal war and “special” all-volunteer forces; this system is inherently self-destructive and contrary to the American tradition of a citizen-based army responsible to the people and the constitution versus a mercenary, standing army of elites that devours it’s young. If you wish to discuss your son’s case – I would be very interested in including it in my upcoming book; “SUICIDE: The Destruction of America’s Army.” Your son has left very important and substantive clues and evidence with you – evidence of actions and motives that most victims are unable or unwilling to do given the terror, humiliation and degradation that they are subjected to. You may contact me direct at: http://www.jack-kingston.us or on facebook or email jack.kingston@yahoo.de Best wishes, Colonel Jack Kingston, Retired

    • my son shot himself on June 1st, 2012. He was 26.

      • Karen, I grieve with you and am so sorry for your loss. I am the Executive Director of Lutheran Veterans and Families Ministries, and work with both military current/former and their family members. Suicide issues are hot-button topics that we are actively involved in-both with families, those struggling, and also to keep everpresent on the minds of everyday Americans.

        I want you to know that if you would like, or need to talk with someone, that your are not alone, and that we are here for you. The work we do with veterans and their families is totally free. Please feel free to email me at lmvfm.org@gmail.com so we can set up a time for you to call.

        In the mean time, you and your family will be be in my prayers,

        MAJ L. Haines
        Executive Director
        Lutheran Military Veterans and Families MInistries, Inc
        1615 Vance Ave., Ste 3
        Fort Wayne, IN 46805
        260-755-2239
        http://www.lmvfm.org

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I am a reporter at CNN.com who is looking into the suicide deaths of soldiers who are not officially counted by the military. Please contact me at moni.basu@turner.com. Thank you.

  11. When will the figures be available or updated for the month of June 2012?

    • Marine Corps statistics for June have been added. Updates on this page are shared as reasonably reliable sources make them public. These sources include government reports from: DoD, the White House, Congress; organizations like RAND Corp. and GAO may also be used.

      Full disclosure of accurate military suicide statistics is an ongoing problem as neither DoD nor the Congress has apparently mandated any statistical collection activity or public disclosure system.

      The Marine Corps seems to regularly publish monthly statistics for its active duty population. I am not aware of any other service branch that currently publishes monthly suicide reports like the Marine Corps does.

      NONE of the services appear to disclose accurate data on their Reserve components, or for their populations of Individual Inactive Reserve members.

      So really, this page just slightly helps with the public’s ongoing ‘guesstimates’ of the true scope of military suicides (and suicide attempts) in the armed services.

      • Right, I use the same resources you cited above, as well as this site on a daily basis to update our training and resource information. I did talk with Dod Public Affairs two hours ago. She said the data was being held “close” for the month of August 2012 and that the Army PAO won’t release these figures even to them until until the release date27th. She referred to the Army PAO and gave me his contact information which is as follows: George Wright at 703.692.1580. I did call, and had to leave a message as he was not available….

        I greatly appreciate your blog and prompt, timely information. It makes my work much easier.

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