Elspeth Ritchie

Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a doctor in the Office of the Army Surgeon General, discusses efforts to study and understand suicide among American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, in this May 29, 2008 file photo, during a news conference at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)


The Pentagon released final data on military suicides during 2012, painting a general picture of those more likely to take their own lives: Young, White men who used a gun and often had some history of mental health issues.

— Almost 93 percent were male

— 74 percent were White

— Almost 40 percent were between 17-24

— 65 percent used a firearm; almost 76 percent of those used a gun that was not issued by the military

— 25 percent died of asphyxiation, including hanging

— More than 33 percent tested positive for alcohol use; about 24 percent tested positive for drugs

— 55 percent of unsuccessful suicide attempts involved drugs

— 42 percent had a history of some type of behavioral health diagnosis

— More than 28 percent had talked about harming themselves prior to the suicide

— 40 percent reported family or relationship stress in the 90 days prior to suicide;  32 percent reported financial or work stress

— 57 percent had been deployed

— 47 percent had been deployed to the Iraq or Afghanistan wars

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