In 2019, 47 active-duty Marines committed suicide – 11 fewer than in 2018 – while the Navy reported 72 suicides, four more than a year earlier, according to preliminary totals from both services.
The Marine Corps suicide rate for the calendar year 2019 was 25.3 per 100,000 active-duty Marines, a decrease from the rate of 30.7 per 100,000 active-duty Marines in 2018.
“The Marine Corps is committed to reducing the number of suicides and continues to encourage unit leaders to have open dialogue with their Marines about stress, resiliency, mental wellness and suicide,” Maj. Craig Thomas, a spokesperson for Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, wrote in an email to USNI News.
“When leaders and mental health programs and resources acknowledge that ‘everybody struggles with life, trauma, shame, guilt and uncertainty,’ it helps make asking for assistance more acceptable,” Thomas said.
In 2019, the Navy’s active-duty suicide rate increased to 22.3 per 100,000 active-duty personnel, from the 2018 suicide rate of 20.1 per 100,000 active duty service members.
“The most important warfighting asset of America’s Navy is not our ships, aircraft, weapons or technology. As vital as those things are, our Navy is about our people – from the youngest seaman to the longest-serving chief or officer. Any death by suicide is a tragedy. The health, safety and well-being of our sailors and their family members is absolutely essential and our top priority. The Navy’s suicide prevention programs are focused on building healthy relationships, creating connectedness and reducing barriers to those in need of help,” Chief of Navy Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell said in a statement to USNI News.