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Cause for Concern: US Military Suicides Rise in 2015 Across All Branches

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US soldier - Sputnik International
The US military saw an alarming increase in suicides over the third quarter of 2015, according to a report released on Monday by the Defense Suicide Prevention Office.

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The new report unveiled disturbing statistics on suicides in both active and reserve segments of American military over July, August and September of last year.

Compared to the same period in 2014, the numbers increased for all branches. Fifty-seven suicides were recorded in the active duty military in the third quarter of 2014, while the quarterly report documented an increase to 72 cases in 2015. As for the reserves, estimates showed an uptick from 48 to 70 suicides over this period from 2014.

Suicides in the active-duty Marine Corps jumped from 6 to 13; in the active duty Navy, 11 from 7; in the active duty Air Force, from 13 to 16, and in the active duty Army, from 31 to 32. Changes in some branches were more dramatic than in the others, but overall, the figures fuel concerns.

"The Department of Defense continues to consider any suicides too many and we're doing everything we can to prevent suicide in our military," said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt Jeff Davis at a briefing. "A number of different methods we have that the services are employing we believe are effective, but they do take time."

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Despite the quarterly jump, the suicide prevention programs mentioned by Davis may actually be working. DSPO director Dr. Keita Franklin told Military Times that through December 15 the number of suicides among active duty members showed to have leveled off for the third year in a row.

The report estimated a total of 363 suicides for both the active duty military and the reserves by December 15, 2015, only 2 cases more than throughout all of 2014.

The report contained no analysis on root causes of the suicides, leaving many to wonder whether America's perpetual engagement in overseas wars, or the lack of adequate care for veterans returning home, has anything to do with the figures.  

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