Tuesday October 15, 2019

Rate of Suicide among Active Duty Service Members Increased over Past Five Years

The report comes after three U.S. sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush died by apparent suicide last week

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Suicide, Duty, Service
Members of the graduating class march during Parade Day at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, May 22, 2019. VOA

The rate of suicide among active duty service members has increased significantly over the past five years, according to a Pentagon report released on Thursday.

The report comes after three U.S. sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush died by apparent suicide last week, incidents the Navy has said are separate and unrelated.

The Pentagon’s first annual suicide report said that the rate of suicide deaths among active duty service members was 24.8 per 100,000 service members, up from just under 20 per 100,000 in 2013. In 2018, 541 service members died by suicide, the report said, adding that the most common method of suicide was with firearms.

“We are not going in the right direction,” Elizabeth Van Winkle, director of the office of force resiliency, told reporters.

Suicide, Duty, Service
The rate of suicide among active duty service members has increased significantly over the past five years, according to a Pentagon report released on Thursday. Pixabay

During the briefing, the Pentagon took the unusual step of advising reporters on how to cover suicides, such as not calling it a “growing problem” or “skyrocketing” because it could cause contagion.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday that the military was caught up in “what some call a national epidemic of suicide among our youth.”

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“I wish I could tell you we have an answer to prevent further, future suicides in the Armed Services,” Esper said. “We don’t.” (VOA)

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WHO Calls for Developing and Implementing Strategies to Prevent Suicide and Promote Mental Health

Suicide is a public health problem, according to the WHO. An estimated 8 lakh people globally commit suicide every year

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WHO, Strategies, Suicide
In line with the regional strategy for preventing suicide, all the countries are working to develop and implement comprehensive, multisectoral suicide prevention strategies, she said. Pixabay

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for developing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote mental health.

Ahead of the World Mental Health Day, to be observed on Thursday, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said the region’s member states are taking important steps to address the issue.

In line with the regional strategy for preventing suicide, all the countries are working to develop and implement comprehensive, multisectoral suicide prevention strategies, she said.

Suicide is a public health problem, according to the WHO. An estimated 8 lakh people globally commit suicide every year, which equates to around one person every 40 seconds. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 29.

WHO, Strategies, Suicide
Ahead of the World Mental Health Day, to be observed on Thursday, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said the region’s member states are taking important steps to address the issue. Pixabay

Though suicide is a global issue, nearly 79 per cent of suicides occur in low and middle-income countries. The Southeast Asia Region is the world’s most affected area, accounting for 39 per cent of global suicide mortality.

Singh said national policies or strategies for suicide prevention should be developed and implemented in line with evidence, best practices and international and regional human rights conventions. To do that, appropriate budgets should be allocated, she added.

She also said that surveillance for suicide should be established and strengthened and, wherever possible, linked to other sources of data.

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Sex and age-disaggregated data ought to be collected and measured, while the direct and indirect costs of suicide and attempted suicide should be collated, Singh said. (IANS)