Suicides among military members and their families reached record highs in 2018, according to new data released Thursday by the U.S. Defense Department,.
The Pentagon confirmed that there were 541 suicide deaths in 2018. The number for 2019 is predicted to be even higher raising concern among military and health officials that not enough is being done to address the crisis.
“While we hold ourselves to a higher standard than the civilian population, we are often asked how we compare,” Van Winkle said. “This year’s report indicates that suicide rates for active-component and reserve members are comparable to U.S. population rates after accounting for age and sex. But rates for the National Guard are higher than the U.S. population after similar adjustments.”
The National Guard accounts for the highest rate of suicide deaths with 30.6 deaths per 100,000. The increase was also true for the army, Navy, and Marine core. The only drop was seen in the service reserves.
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) September 26, 2019
This week, the U.S. Navy confirmed the suicide deaths of three sailors stationed on the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier. The deaths occurred in the span of one week however, the Navy denied any connection between them.