Active-duty military suicides jump 46% this year from last year

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (BRPROUD) – A recent Defense Department report shows active-duty suicides in the military have jumped 46% this year from last year’s Q2 2020 report.

Grant Rogers of Veterans of Foreign Wars said it was disturbing to see suicide rates rising every year in the military.

“Pain and discomfort comes to my mind the most because it’s not something we can necessarily control,” he said. “So it’s really sad to see, you know, humans raising their right hands and being so brave and vulnerable to serve this country, not knowing what they’re going to go to to kill themselves.

Rogers said it affected him personally as several of his comrades committed suicide.

“Eighteen of my close friends with whom I serve or met in the veterans community have committed suicide. And then 18 more in a unit I served with. So, again, this is not something that is going to go away anytime soon. And that’s why we need to change the conversation, ”he explained.

Recent reports from the Department of Defense find significant increases in suicide rates. Data shows an increase of over 40 percent with some military members on active duty.

Byron Comeaux, from Magnolia Care Center Veterans Home, said it can be tough work.

“As for the fact that you are in this stressful environment, they put you back in there right away. You go back there. You have to do what you have because it is not just your life that you are protecting. You are protecting other lives that are online, ”he explained.

Comeaux said those numbers have increased dramatically over the past year and a half due to the increased stress of being in the military, PTSD and change. These changes range from COVID-19 to recent storms and structural changes.

“What they experienced in combat, they experienced it in other situations, the simple fact of doing daily work in the army is generally dangerous on a daily basis. Why such a big peak between last year and this year? Well, it’s a lot of different changes, ”Comeaux said.

He said he cares for veterans with PTSD and sees the challenges they go through every day.

Rogers said an initiative created by One Tribe Foundation lets them know that they are all together to try to limit these tragic events. They use an honor ring to help spread this message.

“The ring is placed on the index finger. This is to remind everyone that you are not alone and it makes you think twice. It’s on the trigger, it makes you think twice before you take these steps to kill yourself, ”Rogers explained.

He believes the conversations need to change and that there needs to be a more open discussion on the subject inside and outside of military units.

“Don’t let fear win because the monster on the other side isn’t as big as it looks. And we must be one. One team and one fight, one try to overcome that, ”Rogers said.

If someone you know is suffering from PTSD or suicidal thoughts, you can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.


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