Military suicides increased by 15% over a year, DOD says

Proactive advocate reaching out to local troops in bid to save lives
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - The Department of Defense revealed the number of military suicides jumped by 15 percent in the last year, with the biggest spike within the Army and Marine Corps.

Miranda Briggs and her family have been through the unimaginable. Her husband, Army Ranger Garret Briggs, struggled with PTSD and took his own life back in 2018.

So, when she and her foundation, Fight the War Within, heard of the spike in active-duty suicides, they took the initiative and started speaking with as many troops as possible.

“You remember that by touching one life or impacting one life, can help so many other people that’re out there,” she said.

“We really see there’s a fear among active-duty service members across the board, especially those that have security clearances, they’re concerned that if they do reach out for help, it’ll damage their military career by coming forward.”

According to the Defense Department, the Army experienced a 20 percent increase in suicides while the Marine Corps experienced an increase of more than 30 percent. PTSD and financial issues are certainly strong factors, but Army Veterans and Texas A&M Central Texas Sociologist Jeffrey Yarvis believes the pandemic made a significant impact.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed us in a lot of ways,” he said.

“It’s caused a lot of isolation and can influence unit cohesion, belongingness and togetherness. So, if you’re cut off from that family a little more, I think it makes things difficult.”

While it’s unclear what the Defense Department will do moving forward, Briggs says she and her foundation will do everything in their power to let our nation’s heroes know they’re not alone.

“We can’t rewind the clocks and bring service members like my husband back, but we can remember them by trying to help other people that are here and that’s how they live on.”

Any veteran or active-duty service member can find more resources with Fight the War Within, the VA, and the Veterans Crisis Line.

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