Army experts highlight findings, recommendations from 10 years of suicide studies

By V. Hauschild, MPH, U.S. Army Public Health Center on September 19, 2022

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides are a leading cause of death in the United States. Estimates indicate death by suicide occurs every 11 minutes. In addition, millions of others have either attempted suicide or had serious thoughts of suicide, known as suicidal ideations.

Suicide is also an important issue in the military. For more than a decade, the U.S. Army Public Health Center's Division of Behavioral and Social Health Outcomes Practice has collected and analyzed surveillance data on suicides, suicide attempts and suicidal ideations. BSHOP has also conducted epidemiological consultations, known as EPICONS, to help expand understanding of the risk and protective factors that impact suicide among soldiers.

Following are some of the themes reported in BSHOP's annual suicide surveillance reports and a summary document titled A Decade of Behavioral Health EPICON Findings:

"Being aware of warning signs, and providing immediate and direct support, can make all the difference in saving a life," says Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bass, a clinical and forensic psychologist in the APHC's BSHOP Division.

The military organizational unit structure can provide a safety net to soldiers and their families that may not be available to the general population.

"It starts with battle buddies and first-line supervisors," says Bass. "It's important for leaders to know their soldiers, establish relationships, and familiarize themselves with and encourage others to access local installation, embedded, and unit-organic behavioral health resources."

Army Chaplains, Unit Ministry Teams, Unit Behavioral Health Officers, and Military and Family Life Counselors are readily available and work directly with soldiers and unit leaders. In addition, community-based resources to include Army Community Service and online resources such as Military OneSource are directly accessible by soldiers and family members.

Not sure where to go? Check out the Community Resource Guide for information about your local installation:

For clinical behavioral health care, contact your local Medical Treatment Facility. Find more information about the Military Health System through the Defense Health Agency at

For immediate assistance, dial 988 to reach the suicide and crisis lifeline. Around the globe, you can reach 24/7 assistance through the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (see below).

If you, a friend, or a family member is experiencing a crisis: