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Mental Health Focus Is Bringing Suicides Down Sharply Among Air Force, Marines and Army

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A significant drop in the rates of suicide among active military members that was observed over 2021 has continued into the first 6 months of 2022.

Driven chiefly by sharp drops among the Marine Corps and Air Force, the declines come as a result of increased attention to the issue among high ranking officers and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

According to the data, the number of suicides in the Air Force and Marine Corp dropped by more than 30% in 2021 compared with 2020, and the Navy saw a 10% decline. The Army saw a similar 30% decrease during the first six months of this year, compared with the same time period last year.

All the services have been struggling to combat the complex issue of suicide throughout the ranks while dealing simultaneously with the dual challenges of insufficient staffing of mental healthcare workers, and continuing stigma of seeking help professionally.

For this, PBS reports, the services have been increasingly taking advantage of military chaplains, health and fitness coaches, and other support staff to support suicide prevention and mental health care programs.

SIMILAR: Trying to Stop the Epidemic of Veteran Suicides, Plant Medicine Company Builds Mental Wellness Value Chain

“The amount of attention that we’re paying to it, I think, is hopefully—we’re cautiously optimistic — what is translating into the downward trend,” Yvette Bourcicot, the acting assistant Army secretary for manpower, told the AP on Thursday.

The Pentagon is working on filling a new force of 2,000 mental healthcare workers, but in the meanwhile some senior officers are requiring soldiers to visit a councilor every so often.

RELATED: Standup Comedy Classes For Men at Risk of Suicide Wins NHS Funding

Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, for example, mandated once-a-year-visits with councilors at his post on Fort Riley, Kansas. All but 10 of the 14,000 staff used their 60-minute session to talk.

As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, GNN is donating a case of our books (…And Now, The Good News) to the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida, to help fight depression.

SHARE This Hopeful News With Enlisted And Non-Enlisted Friends…

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