The Pentagon released the suicide numbers for active military on Thursday and it was not good news.
For active military, sadly, 2018 was a record-setting year.
The study revealed the suicide rate among active military, reserves, and National Guard has gone from 18.5 to 24.8 (per 100,000 service members).
Alarming Rise of Suicides
The Army, by far, had the most suicides among active members.
- Army – 187
- Army National Guard – 118
- Navy – 79
- Marines – 77
- Airmen – 63
- Air National Guard – 17
Among all service members, the largest amount of suicides occurred in male servicemembers under the age of 30.
While firearm was the leading culprit, suicide by hanging was not very far behind.
Even though the Navy trailed the Army in overall numbers, this branch of the service is also seeing a significant rise in suicides.
The problem in the Navy was recently highlighted by three suicides on one ship, the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier.
Those three suicides make it a total of five suicides in the last two years on that ship alone.
Sadly, the trend for our veterans is also on the rise.
Despite the current administration’s best efforts to provide help and resources for veterans, the suicide rate continues to rise.
From 2005 to 2017, the suicide rate has increased from 15.9 to 16.8 suicides per day.
That accounts for an average of more than 6,000 veterans killing themselves every year, which is simply unacceptable.
This trend is also filtering its way down to the spouses of our military, with 123 military spouses having killed themselves in 2017.
The military and the administration are working hard to correct the problem, obviously.
Marine Commandant General David H. Berger stated, “We all have a role in suicide prevention: individual service members, unit leaders, families, and mental health professionals.
“Every Marine and Sailor must work together to be engaged in each other’s lives.
“Just as we talk about physical fitness, marksmanship, training, and education – Marines must also be comfortable discussing life’s struggles, mental wellness, and suicide.
“We must create a community where seeking help and assistance are simply normal, important decisions Marines and Sailors make.”
This responsibility also falls onto every American citizen.
Do what you can, even if it is just stopping by a VA every now and again to drop off some coffee or to chat with our veterans.
We MUST fix this problem.
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