WASHINGTON (CN) – Nineteen soldiers may have committed suicide in February, the Army says, down from the 27 suicides during February last year. Although bleak, the figure gives hope that recently introduced programs may be curbing suicide among soldiers.
So far, only one of the 19 suicides has been confirmed.
“In our continuing efforts to sharpen our current focus on suicide prevention, we are conducting a comprehensive review of existing programs Army-wide, related to health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention,” said Col. Chris Philbrick, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force.
The beginning of last year saw a high number of solders commit suicide – 29 in January and 27 in February – but the rate has ebbed after the Army established education programs in February of 2009. Among them is the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, which invests in soldiers’ mental and emotional health as well as their physical health.
Efforts also have been made to reduce the stigma of seeking help.
Still, the number of soldiers who took their lives spiked to 27 last October, and more recently, in January of this year.
The Army’s comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located here.
The Military OneSource toll-free number for those residing in the continental United States is 1-800-342-9647. Their Web site is here. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.