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. 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 typically 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

2021 Total
Active Component 38
Reserve Component 5
Previous Month (August 2021) Total
Active Component 5
Reserve Component 1

 Updated September 2, 2021

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 54 16.6
2015 43 13.1
​2016 ​52 ​​15.9
​2017 ​65 ​20.1
​2018 ​68 ​20.7
​2019 ​74 ​21.8
​2020 ​66 ​19.3


Note: For comparison, the most recently available demographically adjusted civilian rate from 2016 is 26.8 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
​2016 ​10
​2017 ​​9
​2018 ​11
​2019 ​7
​2020 ​13


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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