Military suicides happen far too often in America given our access to resources and newfound commitment to mental well-being. Military suicides increased from 504 in 2019, to 580 in 2020, a 15% increase. USA Today reported that suicides have been a particular concern at Ft. Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and Ft. Carson.
More U.S. vets have died by suicide in the last 10 years than total service members who died in Vietnam. There has been a wide effort to reverse these trends among different military and civil administrations which has resulted in minor improvements. The veteran suicide rate fell modestly this year for the in a considerable amount of time.
The White House released a plan detailing a more coordinated response to the suicide problem they classify as a “national security crisis.” Still, too often, vets and active-duty service members who are suffering in silence go unnoticed by the people around them. Many vets who take their own lives are isolated, a trend that has only worsened during the pandemic.
A growing an important grass roots movement backed by all seven living former VA secretaries known as Warrior Call is centered around overcoming this isolation. Making a Warrior Call is simply reaching out to an active-duty service member or veteran and having an honest conversation about their well-being and directing them to help as needed.
Warrior Call is the combination of the efforts of many, but, Frank Larkin, former Navy SEAL, whose own Navy SEAL son died from suicide, and Leroy Petry, 2011 recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, co-chair the organization.