More active-duty service members died by suicide in 2018 than ever before, report says

Elizabeth Howe
August 02, 2019 - 10:31 am

In 2018, 325 active duty service members died by suicide — the highest recorded number since the Department of Defense began collecting data in 2001. 

According to the report released this week by the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, the active-duty component saw 139 soldiers, 68 sailors, 60 airmen, and 58 Marines die by suicide in 2018. For every branch except for the Air Force, these rates are an increase from the previous year. 

WATCH: Air Force orders a branch-wide operational stand down to address rising suicide rate

There were 285 deaths by suicide in the active-duty component in 2017. Before this year, the highest recorded number of deaths by suicide in the active-duty component was 321 in 2012. 

Additionally, the released report recorded the first-quarter number of suicides for 2019 — from January to March, 90 active duty service members died by suicide. This includes 30 soldiers, 20 sailors, 26 airmen, and 14 Marines. In the same time frame in 2018, 81 service members died by suicide — 36 soldiers, 23 sailors, 9 airmen, and 13 Marines. 

The Power of Tribe: Suicide prevention for veterans

The numbers in this report are preliminary and subject to change as investigations close — official numbers will be released in the DoD Annual Suicide Report, expected to publish in summer 2019. 

For more information on potential warning signs of suicide, click here.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (select option 1 for a VA staff member). Veterans, service members or their families also can text 838255 or go to veteranscrisisline.net.