Suicide: All military levels need help
As military suicides increased over the last decade, there was a widespread assumption that the pressure of multiple deployments resulting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan played a role.
Studies of the deployment records of victims revealed no particular correlation between deployment and suicide, however.
Now, the Pentagon has reported the good news that the number of military suicides in 2013 declined for the first time in a decade, to 301 from 325 in 2012.
And there was a mystery even within the decline. The number declined for the active military while increasing for the National Guard and Reserves. Experts cited factors that more broadly affect society, including money problems, relationship issues and drugs.
A Pentagon spokesman expressed hope that the reduced number of active-duty military suicides indicates that suicide-prevention programs for those personnel have begun to take effect.
If so, the Pentagon should ensure equal access to help across all levels of service.