(WASHINGTON) — Overall military suicides dropped in 2013, but more soldiers in the Army National Guard and Reserve took their lives, a new report from the Pentagon explains.
The Department of Defense released its 2012 Suicide Event Report on Friday, detailing the number of suicide attempts and deaths for U.S. service members. In 2012, there were 319 deaths by suicide among active component service members. Preliminary data for 2013 shows 261 members in the same category.
Meanwhile, 203 reserve component members took their own lives in 2012, compared to initial numbers for the last year showing 213 deaths.
“The department takes suicide prevention very seriously and considers any measure that saves a life as one worth taking,” said Lt. Gen. Michael S. Linnington.
Linnington, who serves as the military deputy to the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, added that the report provides a “greater understanding” to the conditions linked to the “very serious problem.”
One of the department’s top priorities is helping service members and their families. As a result, the agency has hired approximately 9,425 mental health professionals in 2013.
The DoD will also implement a new method of calculating the suicide rates, using procedures in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to the change, each service branch totaled the service member rates by way of their own processes.
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