The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday released its calendar year 2020 Annual Suicide Report which revealed the tragic news that 580 service members took their own lives last year.
“The findings are troubling. Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still too high, and the trends are not going in the right direction,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
“This is a paramount challenge for our Department. We must redouble our efforts to provide all of our people with the care and the resources they need, to reduce stigmas and barriers to care, and to ensure that our community uses simple safety measures and precautions to reduce the risk of future tragedies,” he said.
According to the Associated Press and other outlets, the 580 suicides in 2020 mark an increase from 504 the previous year, though the Defense Departent’s report for calendar year 2019 indicates that 498 service members passed away from suicide that year.