The U.S. Department of Defense last Thursday released their calendar year 2020 Annual Suicide Report, and it revealed the tragic news that at least 580 service members had taken their own lives last year.
“The findings are troubling. Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still too high, and the trends are not going in the right direction,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in his statement.
“This is a paramount challenge for our Department. We must redouble our efforts to provide all of our people with the care and the resources they need, to reduce stigmas and barriers to care, and to ensure that our community uses simple safety measures and precautions to reduce the risk of future tragedies,” he said. Many of these individuals are giving the ultimate in service for our country, so the least the United States can do is look after them in return.
The Associated Press and other outlets note that the 580 suicides in 2020 are an increase from 504 in 2019. Moreover, they are an increase from the 498 suicides noted the previous year.
According to the Associated Press and other outlets, the 580 suicides in 2020 mark an increase from 504 the previous year, though the Defense Departent’s report for calendar year 2019 indicates that 498 service members died from suicide that year.
“While suicide rates are not going in the desired direction, the Department did not see a statistical change in suicide rates between CY 2020 and CY 2019 or CY 2018 that would indicate a COVID-19-related increase,” according to a news release.
The suicides include 384 among the Active Component, 77 among the Reserve, and 119 among the National Guard. The suicide rate among the Special Operations seems to be increasing as well.
“Active Component: The suicide rate statistically increased from CY 2015 to CY 2020 (i.e., 20.3 to 28.7 suicides per 100,000 Service members),” the report stated. “A rise in the rate of suicide deaths across all Services was observed. In the near-term, the CY 2020 suicide rate was statistically comparable to both CY 2019 and CY 2018.”