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MSMR. 2012 Jun;19(6):7-10.

Deaths by suicide while on active duty, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2011.


Since 2010, suicide has been the second leading cause of death among U.S service members, exceeded only by war injury. Suicide mortality rates in the Army and Marine Corps have increased during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; however, most active duty service members who die by suicide have never deployed. During 1998-2011, 2,990 service members died by suicide while on active duty. Numbers and rates of suicide were highest among service members who were male, in the Army, in their 20s and of white race/ethnicity. Suicide death rates were 24 percent higher among divorced/separated than single, never-married service members. Firearms were the most frequently used method of suicide among both males and females. Numbers and rates of suicide among military members have increased sharply since 2005 and an increasing proportion of these suicides were by firearms. When adjusted for age, rates of suicide are somewhat lower among active military members than civilians. There are not well established and clearly effective interventions to prevent suicides--in general or specifically in a military population during wartime.

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