The suicide rate among active-duty members in the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) skyrocketed by 22% in the spring of 2021 in comparison to the previous year, Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) data revealed.
A total of 99 active-duty members committed suicide between Apr. 1 and Jun. 30, according to the data. A total of 81 active-duty members died from suicide in the same period of 2020.
A majority of the members who committed suicide, 60, from April to June 2021 were enlisted in the U.S. Army, while 17 members of the Navy, 14 of the Air Force and 8 from the Marine Corps also committed suicide, according to DSPO data.
Over the same period in 2020, 41 Army soldiers died from suicide, along with 12 Navy, 18 Air Force, and 10 Marine Corps members. (RELATED: Military Suicides Increase During Coronavirus Pandemic, Army Officials Say)
Pentagon: 46% spike in suicide among U.S. Army’s active-duty forces in Q2 compared to same period last year pic.twitter.com/ukOxqNEjFO
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) October 13, 2021
Prior to the new data, the active-duty suicide rate seemed to have been on the decline in the past few months with a current a total of 75 active-duty suicides between Jan. 1-Mar. 31 of 2021. In total, there have been 174 suicides in 2021 alone.
The total number of suicides among Reserve and National Guard members remained relatively the same compared to 2020. A total of 40 Reserve Component forces died of suicide in the Spring of this year, nine less than in 2020, according to the data. The National Guard suicide numbers only changed slightly, with 26 in 2021 compared to 24 in 2020.
Since 2015, the total number of suicides has steadily increased each year, the data showed. The number jumped from 287 to 326 suicides from 2017 to 2018, according to the data. Those numbers rose to 350 in 2019 before spiking to 384 suicides in 2020.
Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James McConville told CNN in Oct. 2020 that they plan to combat the issue of suicide in the military by widening the number of resources available.
“Suicide remains a significant challenge for the Army,” she said. “While there is no clear understanding of what is causing the increase in suicides, we realize we have to do better in preventing suicide and ensure resources are available and readily accessible.”