The men and women who offer their lives for the rest of us to live in safety and comfort often carry a heavy burden for that mission. We hear quite often of war veterans not being able to handle the memories of battle, and many are at great risk for taking their own lives. What we do not hear about all that often are such warnings regarding active duty service members.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense has kept track of the number of men and women in military uniform who commit suicide. A shocking report was released this week regarding the total of such deaths in the last twenty years.
Last month, the military released figures showing that suicides in the armed forces jumped by 15% last year, fueled by significant increases in the Army and Marine Corps that senior leaders called troubling. They urged more effort to reverse the trend.
According to data, there were 580 suicides last year compared with 504 the prior year. Of those, the number of suicides by Army National Guard troops jumped by about 35%, from 76 in 2019 to 103 last year, and the active-duty Army saw a nearly 20% rise. Marine Corps suicides went up by more than 30%, from 47 to 62; while the Marine Corps Reserves went from nine deaths to 10.
As for veterans and their suicide rates, the numbers are far more than troubling.
This summer, a research paper concluded that a staggering 30,177 American active military personnel and veterans involved in post-9/11 wars are estimated to have died by suicide – a figure at least four times greater than the 7,057 service members who were killed in combat during that time.
Pentagon: 46% spike in suicide among U.S. Army’s active-duty forces in Q2 compared to same period last year pic.twitter.com/ukOxqNEjFO
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) October 13, 2021
“Unless the U.S. government and U.S. society makes significant changes in the ways we manage the mental health crisis among our service members and veterans, suicide rates will continue to climb,” the paper warns. “That is a cost of war we cannot accept.”
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