Suicide proving to be far greater risk to US service members that COVID-19: DOD report

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A report from the U.S. military appears to indicate that more service members have died from suicide than from COVID-19

According to data released in the Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office’s Quarterly Suicide Report that covers Q3 of 2021, 70 active-duty personnel took their own lives. Among National Guard troops and military reserves, 37 and 19 sadly committed suicide, respectively.

“As of January 8, 86 members of the military, have died from the coronavirus, Fox News reported. “In September, the total number of coronavirus deaths in the military was 43 and the doubling of deaths from September to January is partially due to the Delta variant spike, the Pentagon says.”

In a comparison with the third quarter of 2020, active duty deaths decreased by 42, while both reserves and Guard deaths increased by six. “Caution should be used when making comparisons across groups and/or interpreting changes in suicide counts across time because counts do not account for changes in population size,” the report advises.

Year to date, 383 military suicides have occurred. For calendar year 2020, 580 service members tragically died by suicide. “Enlisted members, males, and those under the age of 30 were at higher risk for suicide compared to the population average. The majority of Service member suicide decedents died by firearm (ranging from 64.3% to 79.8%, across military populations),” the Defense Department indicated in its calendar year 2020 findings that were released in September 2021.

The DoD explained that it was taking certain steps for suicide prevention, which includes the following:.

To support young and enlisted Service members, the Department is focusing on several efforts to reduce stigma and barriers to care and increase access to care. New efforts include a pilot program wherein Soldiers complete an annual wellness check with a trained counselor on their personal wellbeing. DoD is also expanding the REACH training—designed to reduce stigma and barriers and increase help-seeking—tailoring and piloting this program for geographically isolated and Outside Continental United States (OCONUS) Service members.


“The Department is increasing screening of military families for depression and suicide risk, supporting an outreach campaign to normalize relationship help-seeking, and expanding safety and safe storage of lethal means, such as firearms and medications.  The Department is also exploring ways to better understand help-seeking behaviors, perceived barriers to care, and suicide thoughts and behaviors among military spouses,” the Defense Department separately advised.

Active duty and veterans, among other things, having suicidal thoughts also have access to a Crisis Line for confidential support that is manned 24-7-365.

According to a “Costs of War” report from Brown University, “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,” Fox News added.

As a side note, the COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory in the military. The military begun the process of discharging troops who won’t take the jab. Approximately 100 Marines and 27 Air Force members have been let go so far. An estimated 3,000 Army soldiers are expected to be discharged this month, CBS News reported in mid-December.


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