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Tips for Discussing Data and Statistics

The manner in which suicide is discussed in any setting (training, everyday conversation, public messaging, media coverage, etc.) can either motivate positive behavior or contribute to risk. All discussion of suicide should follow guidelines for safe and successful messaging, per the U.S. Surgeon General's National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. When using data and statistics:

  • Always foster a positive suicide prevention narrative. Inclusion of data and statistics should not undermine the intent to convey a positive and action-oriented message that promotes understanding of suicide risk and protective factors, encourages active dialogue about suicide and psychological health and promotes help-seeking behavior. The vast majority of those who encounter stress, adversity and/or psychological health challenges do not die by suicide.
  • Use numbers with discretion. A single life lost to suicide is one too many. Extensive discussion of numbers shifts the focus away from preventive actions that can save lives. Avoid presenting suicide as an “epidemic” or common occurrence among a particular community. This can normalize suicide to those at-risk, discouraging positive action and seeking help. Always include appropriate resources within every discussion of suicide, such as the Military Crisis Line.
  • Use objective language. Describing a suicide attempt as “successful,” “unsuccessful” or “incomplete” frames suicide death as a desirable state. Attempts are either fatal or non-fatal. Additionally, the term “committed suicide” frames it as a crime, which can increase barriers to seeking help by reinforcing negative attitudes. Use “die by suicide” or “death by suicide” instead.
  •  Ensure data accuracy. Navy Suicide Prevention provides official data for Navy active component and reserve component Sailors, as described below. Updates occur on or before the 5th day of each month for current year-to-date and previous month deaths. All numbers are subject to change as pending investigations are completed. Use caution when referring to or comparing data from other sources, as they may not accurately reflect suicides among the Navy population.
For more information, download Navy Suicide Prevention’s “What’s in a Word?” fact sheet series, visit the Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging or email suicideprevention@navy.mil.

 

Navy Suicide Data

2016 Year-to-Date
Total
Active Component
13
Reserve Component
4
Previous Month (April)
Total
Active Component
4
Reserve Component
1

 Updated May 5, 2016

Active Component
Calendar Year
Total
Rate
2006
32
9.1
2007
37
10.9
2008
38
11.5
2009
44
13.3
2010
38
11.6
2011
52
15.9
2012
58
18.1
2013
41
12.7
2014
53
16.3
2015
43
13.2 (preliminary)

Note: For comparison, the most recently available demographically adjusted civilian rate from 2014 is 25.6 per 100,000. This rate is adjusted for males aged 17-60.

Reserve Component
Calendar Year
Total
2006
13
2007
6
2008
10
2009
8
2010
5
2011
7
2012
8
2013
5
2014
15
2015
14

Note: Per Department of Defense requirements, reserve component statistics include all reserve component Sailors regardless of duty status. This number does not include individual ready reserve (IRR) Sailors.

 
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Last Modified: 5/9/2016 9:58 AM
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