Military suicides continue to rise, new report says
The number of suicides in the military continues to rise, with the Army being hardest hit.
A new report by the Department of Defense says the number of suicides among soldiers increased by 12 in the first quarter of 2023. In the first three months of the year, 49 soldiers died by suicide.
It’s the highest total since the Defense Suicide Prevention office began releasing totals ten years ago.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin suggested a number of ways to bring the numbers down in a March report. It includes advocating for tighter restrictions on personal firearms. The report found a majority of troops used a personal firearm in their deaths. The report also called on medical facilities to screen for unhealthy alcohol use and increase the number of mental health providers.
The Navy, which has had a number of high profile cases, including in Hampton Roads, was unchanged from the same time last year, when there were 14 deaths.
The overall number of deaths among active duty troops increased by 19 from the same quarter last year.
Suicide among the military has remained stubbornly high. For nearly two decades the military has had a higher rate of suicide then the general population.
Multiple reports have tried to get at the root cause of the problem.
The Navy released a mental health playbook to help leaders identify warning signs and steer sailors toward mental health resources earlier this year.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988.
Veterans can dial 988, then press one or text 838255.