Home » Pentagon Report Reveals U.S. Soldiers More Likely to Die by Suicide than in Combat

Pentagon Report Reveals U.S. Soldiers More Likely to Die by Suicide than in Combat

by Richard A Reagan

A Pentagon study has found that U.S. soldiers are nine times more likely to die by suicide than in combat

According to a five-year analysis by the Defense Health Agency covering the years 2014 to 2019, 883 active-duty soldiers died by suicide, significantly surpassing the 96 soldiers who lost their lives in combat during the same period.

The study points out that suicide has overtaken all other causes of death among soldiers, with accidents being the second leading cause, resulting in 814 deaths.

Recent figures obtained by USA Today show a disturbing trend: the suicide rate among soldiers has continued to climb, reaching a record high of 36.6 per 100,000 in 2023. As of May 2024, the suicide rate remains alarmingly high at 31.8 per 100,000, with 55 reported cases this year alone.

Army officials have suggested that this rise is reflective of broader societal trends that have infiltrated military life. In response, the Army has intensified efforts to curb these numbers by hiring professionals specializing in alcohol abuse—a significant contributor to suicidal behaviors—and by emphasizing the safe storage of weapons to mitigate impulsive decisions during crises.

The urgency of addressing mental health issues is underscored by the higher rates of suicide among veterans compared to the general population. 

A 2021 study by Brown University found that of the 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who served in post-9/11 conflicts, 22,261 veterans had died by suicide. 

This study also noted that exposure to combat elements unique to the Global War on Terror, such as improvised explosive devices and the consequent traumatic brain injuries, exacerbated the suicide rates.

The Pentagon’s findings and the ongoing increase in suicide rates among soldiers call for a serious reflection on the mental health challenges faced by those who serve. 

It also highlights the necessity for continuous support and interventions that are tailored to address the unique stresses of military life and the aftermath of combat exposure.

As the military grapples with these challenges, it becomes crucial for society and policymakers to provide robust support systems for our soldiers and veterans, ensuring their sacrifices are honored not just in word but also through dedicated care and support.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental challenge or crisis, consider reaching out to the national suicide prevention lifeline at 988 for support and assistance.

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