A new U.S. Department of Defense report shows a steady increase in the number of military and veteran suicides in the last six years. A total of 541 service members committed suicide in 2018.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York led a hearing last week on the report’s findings.
She says combat missions and PTSD are often named as reasons for suicide, but other factors within military life can lead to emotional challenges.
“It’s often impossible to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and frequently our service members are expected to sacrifice the needs of their families to accomplish a mission.”
She says the unique burdens of military life can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Experts at the hearing said procedures need to be set up to identify these issues early.