30 September (WNN) — According to a Pentagon report released on Thursday, there was a 15% increase in military suicides amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year compared to 2019.
According to Congress and Defense Department sources, USA Today confirmed Wednesday night, in 2020, 580 soldiers died by suicide, as compared to 504 soldiers in 2019.
The Pentagon report also found that the suicide rate rose from 20.3 per 100,000 in 2015 to 28.7 per 100,000 in 2020, and that young, enlisted service members were most at risk.
“We recognize that rates are not moving in the desired direction and confirm our work to reduce suicide rates,” the report said.
Still, the Defense Department said in a statement that it did not see a statistical change that would indicate an increase related to COVID-19.
The report lists actions taken since the 2019 ASR to prevent suicide and mitigate the effects of the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, including recognizing and responding to warning signs of suicide on social media and Includes conducting a training video on virtual support efforts. .
Other actions include conducting “resources exist, can help” training to encourage people to access resources, and the “Leader Suicide Prevention Safe Messaging Guide to enhance effective communication by correcting misconceptions about suicide.” Including publishing.
The department also conducted its first survey to examine attitudes and behaviors about firearm storage and their beliefs about firearms and suicide risk, and said it was working on developing evidence-informed communication tools to prevent suicide. will use the findings.
It also collaborated with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies on a national public health campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention resources.
The report came out on the last day of September which is National Suicide Prevention Month.
“The findings are disturbing,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s statement on the report. “Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still very high, and trends are not heading in the right direction.”
“This is the biggest challenge for our department,” the statement said. “We must redouble our efforts to provide all of our people with the care and resources they need, to reduce stigma and barriers to care, and to ensure that our community is at ease to reduce the risk of future tragedies. Uses safeguards and precautions. We will continue to work swiftly and promptly in close cooperation with our partners in the Department of Veterans Affairs.”