Military Officials Say Active-Duty Suicide Rates Have Increased 20 Percent Since Start Of Pandemic: Report

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A heartbreaking report that came out on Sept. 27 revealed that the suicide rates of active-duty soldiers are up nearly 20 percent since this time last year. While the initial report is still incomplete and suicide is highly complex, the jump in suicide rates — and more incidents of violent behavior in active-duty military members — come at a time of civil unrest, natural disasters, a worldwide pandemic, race relations, and more. 

Why are active-duty suicide rates up during COVID?

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Military officials point to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic for the uptick in suicides among active-duty members of the military. Although officials cannot “definitively” say that COVID-19 is solely responsible for the rise in suicide and violence in the military, there is a correlation between the numbers and the start of the pandemic.

Data from the first three months of 2020 actually showed suicide rates dropping; however, in the Spring, those numbers started to rise. 

“I can’t say scientifically, but what I can say is – I can read a chart and a graph, and the numbers have gone up in behavioral health related issues,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said.

“We cannot say definitively it is because of COVID. But there is a direct correlation from when COVID started, the numbers actually went up,” he added.

“COVID adds stress,” Air Force Chief Gen. Charles Brown said. “From a suicide perspective, we are on a path to be as bad as last year. And that’s not just an Air Force problem, this is a national problem because COVID adds some additional stressors – a fear of the unknown for certain folks.”

Will Donald Trump and Joe Biden talk about this during the debate?

Given that this report came out a few days before the first presidential debate between Democratic candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, it’s likely that the topic will be brought up during Sept. 29’s debate. In fact, COVID-19 is one of the six main topics that will be talked about during the debate tonight.

What other topics will be covered during the presidential debate on Sept. 29?

COVID-19 isn’t the only topic that will be discussed during the debate tonight. Other topics on the docket include the candidates’ respective records, the economy, the Supreme Court, “race and violence within our cities,” and election integrity. Given the fact that all of these topics are some of the most important issues everyone is currently dealing with in this country, tonight’s debate between the two presidential candidates will likely be one of utmost importance.

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Who is moderating the debate?

Fox News host Chris Wallace will be moderating the first presidential debate tonight.

How to watch the presidential debate:

The first presidential debate will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT and will last 90 minutes. It will air across all major networks, and you can stream the debate online on YouTube via CBS, ABC, and Fox News.

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter