Suicide rate for active-duty US troops hits 5-year high, Pentagon reveals
- The suicide rate among active-duty US military service members hit a five-year high last year, a new Pentagon report released Thursday revealed.
- The suicide rate among active-duty personnel was 24.8 suicides for every 100,000 service members, much higher than the 18.5 figure from five years earlier.
- The Pentagon determined that the suicide rate is consistent with that for the general US population, but that is unsatisfactory. "Our numbers are not moving in the right direction," a spokesman said Thursday.
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The suicide rate among active-duty US military personnel spiked to a five-year high in 2018, a new Pentagon report revealed Thursday. Indeed, the toll of 325 troops who died by their own hand is the highest toll since the Pentagon began tracking this in 2001.The latest annual report said this death toll was 40 more than the previous year. The suicide rate for active-duty personnel last year was 24.8 suicides for every 100,000 US service members. This marks a significant increase over the 18.5 figure from 2013.Advertisement
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"Although the suicide rate among most of our military populations is comparable to civilian rates, this is hardly comforting, and our numbers are not moving in the right direction," Elizabeth Van Winkle, Pentagon executive director of force resiliency, told reporters Thursday, The Washington Post reported.The Marines Corps is the youngest and most heavily male of the services, and it had the highest suicide rate at 31.4 suicides for every 100,000 Marines. The next highest was the Army at 24.8, the Navy at 20.7, and the Air Force at 18.5, USA Today reported.
The rates for National Guard and reserve units are also alarmingly high, the report revealed.Across the military, the services are all struggling with suicide. In August, the Air Force ordered all units to stand down for one day to look at way to address rising suicide rates. As of the end of July, the service had seen 78 suicides. In mid-August, a "heartbroken" Air Force commander expressed shock and disbelief after Shaw Air Force Base suffered its third suicide this year.Advertisement
Last week, three Navy sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush died in apparent suicides, the ship's commanding officer revealed "with a heavy heart."The Pentagon's report follows a troubling Department of Veterans Affairs report released last Friday that showed that at least 60,000 veterans have died by suicide in the last decade, Military.com reported. In 2017, 6,100 veterans died by suicide, the VA report explained.Advertisement
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.