Suicide in the United States is a huge problem for multiple segments of the population, as the rates are rising rapidly across the nation. As of the most recent report in 2017, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans.
As of this morning, the suicide numbers are out for 2018, and they show that the rates among one segment of the military have risen – the Special Ops division.
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In 2017, eight people committed suicide who worked in special ops. In 2018 however, that number was up to 22 – almost triple the numbers from 2017, according to the numbers given to CNN by the special ops command.
The branch affected, SOCOM, is the command level group that is in charge of controlling and overseeing all things Special Operations, or Special Ops as it’s known.
People selected from all branches of the military make up this elite group including the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The specially trained personnel take on jobs such as combat missions in counterterrorism, among other highly classified and specialized missions.
In fact, the group affected by this higher rate of suicide includes those known as SEAL Team Six – the group of people who took down Osama Bin Laden, as well as the Army’s Delta Force. Their base of operations is in Tampa, Florida.
People commit suicide for many reasons. Clinically, suicide rates are generally tied to depression. Except that the special ops branch of the military is heavily screened for signs of that issue, and those who are susceptible aren’t allowed to train. As a result, suicides from the special ops branch should be lower than the rest of the U.S., but they’re not.
According to General Tony Thomas, a four-star general who leads the Special Ops Command group, the military is working on figuring out and fixing the issue. To date, they’ve been much more vocal than usual when alerting the public and soldiers to the issue. While confirming the military has an issue with suicide, he said:
The question is, why?
“We are combatting this scourge across the Department of Defense.”
He went on to say that:
“We are keenly focused on preventing suicides.”
Apparently, the Special Operations branch isn’t alone. Confirmed and suspected suicides have risen all across the different military branches, according to CNN. In fact, Marine Corps and Navy suicides reached a 10-year high last year.
Those people who train for years and do so harder and longer than any other military force appears to be worse off than the rest of the U.S. population in many ways. Although the military and government don’t have an answer yet, they are working on the problem actively.
Suicide rates for Veterans of the military have been on the rise for at least a decade now. Check out this video for more information on the issue, and what we can do to help stop it: