Suicide Has Been Deadlier Than Combat for the Military
December 06, 2019
Efforts are underway to understand and address suicide among military service members and veterans. Experts agree that rising suicide rates in this population require multiple prevention strategies, including reducing access to firearms and providing culturally competent health care. Many also say the military’s culture of stoicism and self-reliance may be a contributing factor. Service members should be taught to prioritize their mental health and seek help when they are struggling, according to Kim Ruocco, a suicide loss survivor and executive at the nonprofit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. There is less consensus on the impact of other suicide risk factors, however, such as deployment and mental health history. The government has set aside $1 billion to address veteran and active-duty military suicide, and researchers are continuing to investigate why suicide rates are rising and how to reduce them.
Spark Extra! Learn more about preventing suicide among military service members and veterans.