It is no secret that the leading cause of death among active duty troops deployed to the Middle East is not combat or accidents, or IEDs — it’s themselves. The Pentagon’s own statistics show that this is a crisis but it is being ignored.
In 2019, according to the Department of Defense, 17 service members were killed during hostile situations in Afghanistan. The number of soldiers who killed themselves was nearly 19 times that amount. The most recent numbers, coming from 2018, show that a total of 321 active-duty members took their lives during the year.
Not only are active duty soldiers tragically ending their own lives at an increasing rate, but once they finish their service, these numbers skyrocket. While the suicide rate for active duty members is certainly shocking, veterans kill themselves at a rate nearly 200 percent more.
The most recent data shows that a veteran kills himself or herself in the United States about every hour and 26 minutes. That is 6,100 veterans a year.