Military suicides have risen to a record high among active service troops, and continue a deadly trend that, according to Pentagon officials, is frustrating as a challenge to confront.
The US Army, Navy, and Marine Corps all saw an increase in suicides, as well as the total, with only the Air Force showing a decline, according to data released by the Pentagon on Thursday.
Despite the decrease, air force units were asked to resign one day this summer to tackle the rising problem of suicides, of which air chief of staff David Goldfein said: "an opponent killing more of our airmen than any enemy on the planet.
An Air Force Honor Guard at the funeral for Air Force officer are pictured above. Military suicides have risen to a record high among active service troops, and continue a deadly trend that, according to Pentagon officials, is frustrating as a challenge to confront
Newly released military suicide data arrived just after three sailors had taken their own lives aboard the aircraft carrier USS George W. Bush (pictured above) earlier this month
The timing of the newly released data also happened after the Navy reported that three crew members serving on the USS George HW Bush all took their lives within a week.
The three dead were separate and unrelated, said airship commander Captain Sean Bailey. Stars and stripes.
Bailey said the dead & # 39; the third, fourth, and fifth crewmembers mark suicides in the past two years & # 39; alone on the ship in Norfolk, Virginia. A total of 49 people were killed this year by suicide of active sailors.
Defense Minister Mark Esper, who responded to the last deaths, expressed frustration.
& # 39; I wish I could tell you that we have an answer to prevent further, future suicides in the armed forces, & # 39; he said. & # 39; Not us. We are stuck in what some call a national epidemic of suicide among our youth. & # 39;
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (pictured above) responded to three sailors who died of suicide in the USS George W. Bush said: & I wish I could tell you that we have an answer to further, future suicides in prevent the armed forces. We don't & # 39;
The number of suicides in the army increased by around 6 percent from 511 in 2017 to 541 in 2018. According to the Pentagon, the riskiest population is young men and at least 60 percent of the time they chose a gun as their suicide method.
The suicides of the army increased by around 22 percent, from 114 to 139, while the Marines saw an increase of almost 35 percent, from 43 to 58. The increase for the navy was slightly less than 5 percent, increasing from 65 to 68.
The air force fell from 63 to 60, also slightly less than 5 percent.
& # 39; Our figures are not going in the right direction & # 39 ;, said Elizabeth Van Winkle, director of the Pentagon's Force Resiliency Office. She said that most military rates are comparable to those of civilians, but added: & # 39; that is hardly reassuring. & # 39;
It is difficult to recognize servants who are struggling or at risk of taking their own lives, said soldiers, who also noted that suicide can result after a sudden, impulsive decision with little warning
Service members are reluctant to come forward to seek help because they fear that this may affect promotions or security clearances, military officials say.
Military and defense leaders expressed their dismay and determination to do more to increase resilience in the armed forces, to train service members how to cope better with stress, and to encourage troops to seek help when they need it. .
Van Winkle said the military is also looking at increasing efforts to train troops in the safe storage of firearms and medicines.
She said that there are no consistent rules or regulations throughout the department and services that require gun locks or other controls on firearms, but that some states or bases have their own limitations.
It is difficult to identify servants who are struggling or at risk of taking their own lives, soldiers said, who also noted that suicide can result after a sudden, impulsive decision with little warning.
It is also a challenge to identify suicidal reasons because there are so many tensions that can contribute. In addition, service members are reluctant to seek help because they are concerned that this may affect promotions or security clearances.
Military leaders promised to work harder to tackle those perceived roadblocks.
& # 39; Just as we are talking about physical fitness, marksmanship, training and education, Marines should also feel comfortable discussing life's struggles, mental well-being and suicide, & # 39 ;, said General David Berger, Commander of the Marine Corps. & # 39; We need to create a community where the search for help and help is normal, important decisions that marines and sailors make. & # 39;
This year, the Pentagon included statistics on suicides by dependents and dependents for the first time. Van Winkle said the latest available figures were for 2017, but civil servants are working to get better at collecting family data.
According to the report, there were 186 families who had suicides – 123 were spouses and 63 were dependents between the ages of 12 and 23.
The vast majority – nearly 70 percent – were female spouses younger than 40, while 70 percent of the dependent suicides were men. About half of the people who died from suicide were at least 18 years old and, for those who were younger, most deaths were young people between 15 and 17 years old.
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