ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – AUGUST 30: U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby speaks at a press briefing. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
UPDATED 5:54 PM PT – Thursday, September 30, 2021
A new report revealed an increase in the number of suicides among U.S. service men and women. According to the Pentagon’s annual report, 580 U.S. troops committed suicide last year. This showed a 15 percent rise from 2019.
Officials cited mental health challenges and insufficient efforts to prevent suicides as the reasons behind the increase. Meanwhile, the Pentagon commented on its latest report.
On Thursday, the department’s spokesman John Kirby vowed to expand the support for service members and veterans in order to improve their mental health and quality of life. The Pentagon said it’s working with Veterans Affairs to change the tragic trend.
“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 that care, and to ensure that our community uses simple safety measures and precautions to reduce the risk of future tragedies,” said Kirby. “We’ll continue to work swiftly and urgently in close collaboration with our partners at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Back in June, a study found some 30,000 U.S. veterans and troops have died by suicide since 2001.