More US Military Members Died From Suicide in 2021 Than From COVID-19 Since Pandemic Began
There were 580 deaths by suicide among US service members in 2020 – a 16 percent increase as compared to 2019, when there had been 498 such cases, according to the Defense Department suicide report, cited in last September.
More US service members committed suicide in the third quarter (Q3) of 2021 than the total number of those who died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Defence Department.
Thus, released Pentagon data cited by Fox News showed that 163 service members took their own lives from July to September 2021, of which 70 were active service members, 56 - reserve members, and 37 were members of the National Guard.
While this reveals a drop in suicides among active members of the military as compared to Q2, suicides have risen among reserve and National Guard members.
Meanwhile, in September, the total number of coronavirus deaths in the military stood at 43, said the Pentagon. By 8 January, the number had grown to reach 86, partly attributed to the surge in cases prompted by the spread of the Delta variant of the respiratory disease in the period from September 2021 to January.
Looking back on the three quarters of last year, a total of 476 members of the US military are recorded as having taken their own lives. In 2020, Pentagon data shows that 701 service members committed suicide.
There has not been any comment on the released figures from the US Defence department.
This is four times greater than the 7,057 service members killed in combat during an equivalent span of time.
"Unless the US government and society makes significant changes in the ways we manage the mental health crisis among our service members and veterans, suicide rates will continue to climb… That is a cost of war we cannot accept," warned the report.
Besides the mental trauma of being in combat or a crisis of conscience some service members are believed to be struggling with, Thomas Suitt, who authored the paper for Brown University's project said in an interview with NPR that increased use of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, fed into an atmosphere of fear among service members.
Other factors mentioned were “diminished public support” for ongoing wars, sexual assault instances within the military's ranks, and easier access to firearms.