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Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel: “Sexual assault is a stain on the honor of millions of military men and women, a threat to the discipline and the cohesion of our force, and we will not allow this to stand.”
The Department of Defense established a SAFE HELPLINE for Sexual Assault Victims that you can chat online in a secure environment or call for for independent and anonymous support service.
To speak directly with a counselor 24/7, call the Safe Helping at: (877) 995-5247
Suicide is the deliberate taking or ending of one's own life. It is often associated with a severe crisis that does not go away, that may worsen over time, or that may appear hopeless. Friends or loved ones in crisis may showDoD Suicide Prevention Office signs that indicate that they are at risk of attempting or committing suicide.
HOW DOES SUICIDE RANK WITH OTHER CAUSES OF DEATH?
Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 1% of all deaths.
More years of life are lost to suicide than to any other single cause except heart disease and cancer.
HOW MANY DEATHS BY SUICIDE OCCUR IN THE U.S.?
30,000 Americans die by suicide each year.
An additional 500,000 Americans attempt suicide annually.
WHAT ROLE DOES AGE HAVE IN SUICIDES?
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, and the fourth leading cause of death among 25 to 44-year-olds in the United States.
Suicide rates are highest in old age: 20% of the population and 40% of suicide victims are over 60. After age 75, the rate is three times higher than average, and among white men over 80, it is six times higher than average.
IS IT COMMON FOR A PERSON TO MAKE MORE THAN ONE ATTEMPT?
Yes. 30% to 40% of persons who died by suicide have made a previous attempt.
The actual ratio of attempts to completed suicides is approximately 10 to 1.
The risk of suicide is more than 100 times greater than average in the first year after an attempt - 80 times greater for women, 200 times greater for men, 200 times greater for people over 45, and 300 times greater for white men over 65.
WHAT ROLE DOES SUBSTANCE ABUSE HAVE IN SUICIDE?
Substance abuse/misuse is another key risk factor associated with suicide. Substance abuse may be involved in half of all cases. About 20% of suicides involve people with alcohol problems, and the lifetime rate of suicide among people with alcohol-use problems is at least three or four times the average. Completed suicides are more likely to be men over 45 who are depressed or alcoholic.
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER COMMON METHODS OF SUICIDE?
Firearms, suffocation, and poison are by far the most common methods of suicide.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY SUICIDE RISK FACTORS IN THE MILITARY?
The most prevalent individual stressor was relationship problems, which were present in 58% of the suicide deaths in 2009.
Data collected since 2005 show that approximately 29% of suicides included either drug or alcohol use.
Almost 30% of the Army’s suicide deaths from 2003 to 2009, and over 45% of the non-fatal suicide behavior from 2005 to 2009, involved the use of drugs or alcohol.
The "Defense Survey of Health-Related Behaviors" found "dangerous levels" of alcohol abuse and the illicit use of drugs such as pain killers by 12 percent of military personnel.
25% had some form of closed or pending misdemeanor or felony investigation.
Military or work stress, as defined in the Department of Defense Suicide Event Report (DoDSER), is recognized as the second most prevalent individual risk factor and has contributed to 50% of the suicide deaths from 2005 to 2009.
A history of legal/law enforcement encounters and disciplinary/administrative actions were present in 34% of the suicide deaths between 2005 and 2009.
A history of behavioral health diagnosis is strongly associated with increased incidence of high risk and suicidal behaviors.
Diagnosed cases of PTSD have steadily increased in the Army since 2003. Untreated PTSD can lead to suicidal behavior.
A study of veterans with PTSD published last August 2009 by the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that 47 percent had had suicidal thoughts before seeking treatment and 3 percent had attempted to kill themselves.
In a study of 300,000 male U.S. Army soldiers, a definitive link between suicide and smoking was observed with those smoking over a pack a day having twice the suicide rate of non-smokers.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A FRIEND OF LOVED ONE MENTIONS SUICIDE?
First, take seriously all suicide threats and all suicide attempts. If you think a person is having suicidal thoughts, get more information. Remember, asking questions will not increase the person’s suicidal thoughts. It will give you information that indicates how strongly the person has thought about killing himself or herself.
IF SOMEONE I KNOW MENTIONS SUICIDE, WHAT SHOULD I ASK?
"Are you thinking about killing yourself?" (Ask directly if he/she is having suicidal thoughts/ ideas.)
"Have you ever tried to hurt yourself before?" (A past history of suicide attempts is one of the strongest risk factors for death by suicide.)
"Do you think you might try to hurt yourself today?" (Is the thought fleeting, or does the person have a clear plan and intent to commit self-harm imminently?)
"Have you thought about ways that you might hurt yourself?" "Do you have pills/weapons in the house?" (Find out about the availability of lethal means to carry out the act).
OutServe-SLDN represents the U.S. LGBT military community worldwide. Our mission is to: educate the community, provide legal services, advocate for authentic transgender service, provide developmental opportunities, support members and local chapters, communicate effectively, and work towards equality for all.