The number of active-duty suicides in the US military reached a record high in 2018 for the second time in six years, Military.com reports.
According to military records, 321 active-duty members committed suicide in 2018, including 138 Army soldiers, 68 Navy sailors, 58 airmen, and 57 Marines.
The number of suicides is equal to the record number of suicides in 2012.
Along with active duty troops, 18 Marine Corps. Reserve members took their lives in 2018, as did three Air Force reserve members.
According to Navy statistics, 12.7 members per every 100,000 committed suicide five years ago. Now the rate is 20 members per every 100,000. According to the 2016 DoD Suicide Event Report, 21.1 members of every 100,000 commit suicide across all branches of the armed forces.
Military struggling to save lives of their own:
“Suicide continues to present a challenge to the Pentagon and the military services, which have instituted numerous programs to save lives, raise awareness and promote prevention,” Military.com reported. “Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, in his 2019 guidance to Marines released Friday, urged them to consider the lasting impact that a ‘permanent solution to a temporary problem’ can have.”
"We pride ourselves on building tough, resilient, mission-focused Marines, but we also pride ourselves on taking care of our own. ... While there is no dishonor in coming up short or needing help, there is no honor in quitting. MARINES NEVER QUIT ON EACH OTHER!" Neller wrote.
Brig. Gen. Michael Martin, director of Air Force Integrated Resilience, told Military.com that “the Air Force is dedicated to a comprehensive, leadership-driven strategy with the ultimate goal of supporting airmen and their families early with a robust network and never losing another airman to suicide.”
Army Suicide Prevention Office without a permanent head:
“The Army declined to release its fourth-quarter suicide numbers and referred requests to the Defense Suicide Prevention Office, which has not published the year-end totals,” Military.com reported. “DSPO has been without a permanent chief since October 2017, when former director Keita Franklin moved to head the Department of Veterans Affairs' suicide prevention office.”
“It last sponsored a conference on suicide prevention in August 2017 and held a suicide prevention month in September 2018, which included hosting an outreach event, attending resource fairs at various locations, and promoting awareness campaigns,” the outlet added.