Air Force Suicides Up, Again:

The number of Air Force personnel who committed suicide jumped some 14 percent over a 10-year average, states a service news release. The 2006 rate—based on the number of deaths per 100,000 airmen—was 11.4, up from 7.8 in 2005. However, service officials say this does not portend a trend, instead, said Lt. Col. Steven Pflanz, with the Air Force Medical Operations Agency suicide prevention office, it is “most indicative of the random variations year-to-year.” The 2006 rate is down significantly from the 2004 rate of 15.2, and the 10-year average dropped to 28 percent fewer suicides than the previous decade, which Pflanz attributes to USAF’s 1996 implementation of a suicide prevention program. (Read more about this issue in our 2005 article “Suicide in the Ranks.”)