In the last 12 months, suicide was the largest single cause of death for Active Duty airmen.
Out of 151 reported deaths, 69 of them were self-inflicted, according to a report Air Force Magazine obtained from the Air Force Personnel Center. That’s over 45 percent. Accidents were the second-highest cause of death, at 30 percent.
Every instance of a self-inflicted death was also described as an “apparent suicide” in the data. Of those 69 instances, 41 were reasoned to have occurred by “gunshot wound.” Another 19 were reasoned to have occurred by “hanging, strangulation, or suffocation.”
Following suicides, the second leading cause of death for airmen was 45 reported accidents, the majority of which were “loss or accident” of or within an aircraft or ground vehicle.
The third leading cause of death for airmen was 30 reported illnesses, with cancer and cardiovascular diseases leading at 10 instances each.
Over the coming weeks, Air Force Magazine will continue to analyze the above data and update readers with context about what it means and what the service is doing about it.
If you’re having suicidal thoughts or are otherwise wanting to talk to someone, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with someone 24/7.
Air Frame: A 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilot disengages an F-22 Raptor from the boom of a 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-10 Extender Aug. 22, 2017, in the skies over southwest Asia.
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