Military suicide has gone up 20% compared to this time last year. The Department of Defense would not say it’s specifically because of coronavirus, but they alluded to this. Military suicide has long been a serious matter. However, many leaders have said this pandemic has added stress to an already stressful job. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the Associated Press, “We cannot say definitively it is because of COVID. But there is a direct correlation from when COVID started, the numbers actually went up.”
He went on to say, “I can’t say scientifically, but what I can say is – I can read a chart and a graph, and the numbers have gone up in behavioral health related issues.”
The US Army was worried this might happen. They conducted research in May as to the effects the lockdown would have on soldier’s mental health.
Many troops have been on base lockdown. Meaning, they are unable to leave the immediate area for holidays. Additionally, troops are spending longer on deployments, and training exercises. This is to facilitate a 2 week quarantine on both the way in and out. James Helis, director of the Army’s resilience programs, said “We know that the measures we took to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID could amplify some of the factors that could lead to suicide.”
To make matters worse, many stress relief activities are no longer options. Bars, dancing halls, sport facilities have all been subject to strict control measures.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
During these crappy times, make sure to reach out to those in our community. Furthermore, reach out if you feel yourself slipping down a dark path. You can seek treatment for mental and physical injuries alike. There is no shame in wrapping a sprained ankle. Thus, there is no shame in reaching out to someone to talk. Looking into what is available will also make you better prepared to help others in need.