"Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still too high, and the trends are not going in the right direction," says Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, who was quoted by Defense.org in a recent report.
Director of the defense's suicide prevention office, Karin A. Orvis, says, "Suicide remains a serious public health issue in the military and in the nation. 'Every death by suicide is devastating and has wide reaching impacts on family, friends and the broader community.'"
Orvis found "in calendar year 2020, 580 service members died by suicide ... However, the 2020 rate was statistically comparable to 2018 and 2019."
This is corroborated by the 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention annual report which shows 399 fewer Veteran suicides in 2019 than in 2018.
USO.org also captured the stark reality of mental health struggles among American military members. USO found 2021 research that reveals "30,177 active-duty personnel and veterans who served in the military after 9/11 have died by suicide—compared to the 7,057 service members killed in the line of duty in those same 20 years."
While several known causes can lead to suicide, military service members are particularly vulnerable as they face opposition on and off the battlefield. The USO said, "service members who are stationed in other countries or deployed to combat zones often experience loneliness and isolation. ... This is a serious issue for morale and mental health ..."
Quoting the World Health Organization, the USO continued, "'[H]aving a safe, supportive environment plays a large role in suicide prevention'...[h]owever, in the U.S. military, a safe, supportive environment isn't always guaranteed and can be extremely difficult to come by, particularly during moments of extreme change, like deployments or cross-country moves."
The recent departure from Afghanistan, which left 13 troops dead after a suicide bombing, is only one example of the hardships soldiers face. The federal government's disregard for these fallen heroes adds to the pains experienced on a national level.
In a recorded speech addressing suicide prevention, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin says, "We have to treat all wounds—the ones we can see and the ones we can't. I take these losses seriously and personally. Each suicide creates waves of pain, grief and confusion. We mourn those we've lost and we hope we can honor their memory by redoubling our efforts to provide accessible and effective care."
Veterans and families who are contemplating suicide or need mental health support are encouraged to visit www.militaryonesource.mil or contact the Veterans and Military Crisis Line veteranscrisisline.net.
For more than a decade, Tiffany Benson's passion for writing has exceeded most of her other interests. When she's not catching up on politics or watching documentaries, she enjoys journaling, fiction and contributing to her blogbigviewsmallwindow.com.
Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.