Did you know that we’re still at war? You wouldn’t know it during the nightly news—our war effort is rarely mentioned. Our ADD culture is bored of the 12 year conflict. As a recent Stars and Stripes article put it, “Not since the Korean War of the early 1950s—a much shorter but more intense fight—has an armed conflict involving America’s sons and daughters captured so little public attention.”
Well, here’s a number that should grab your attention: 38
There were 38 likely suicide deaths among Army soldiers in the month of July alone – 26 active duty and 12 non-active duty. That is the highest suicide rate since the Army began recording suicide deaths in 2009.
Last week in a US Army press release, General Lloyd J. Austin III, vice chief of staff of the Army stated, “Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army. And, it’s an enemy that is killing not just soldiers, but tens of thousands of Americans every year. That said, I do believe suicide is preventable. To combat it effectively will require sophisticated solutions aimed at helping individuals to build resiliency and strengthen their life coping skills.”
“When a soldier is in distress, we owe him or her an immediate and comprehensive response. We do not expect for a soldier with a broken leg to be strong and get up and become better without seeking medical treatment. When a soldier is suffering from a mental health injury, he or she deserves medical treatment and the very best care that is available. We must continue to look at how our leaders talk about mental health, how we are treating illness and injury, and how we can provide hope for those who need treatment.”