The Century Foundation points out today that in 2012 military suicides were actually greater than the number of combat deaths. In 2012, 295 members of the U.S. military were killed in combat, but 349 service men and women took their own lives.
Some shocking figures:
This problem is not relegated to active duty personnel only. According to the Center for New American Security, from 2005 to 2010, a service member took his or her own life every thirty-six hours. Disturbingly, as of 2010, the Department of Veteran Affairs stated that a veteran takes his or her own life every 80 minutes. That breaks down to 18 veterans a day. Those who served in our armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan make up 20% of the total suicides in the United States.
Other nations have also seen suicides increase in recent years and have taken their own measures. The Israeli Army, for example, began requiring soldiers to leave their guns on base when returning home. This led to a very impressive 60% reduction in military suicide rates in Israel. They have employed several other policies as well, including education seminars, reduced access to guns for active duty soldiers, and serious protocols to be followed if a soldier is suspected of having suicidal thoughts.