Statement by the Secretary of Defense on the Ministry of Defense Annual Suicide Report
LANSING, Michigan (WLNS) – Today, the Department of Defense released the annual suicide report for the 2020 calendar year. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III makes a statement on the report :
On this last day of September, National Suicide Prevention Month, I reflect on the brave men and women we have lost to suicide. I personally feel these losses and mourn alongside the families and loved ones of those we have lost. Every suicide sends wave after wave of pain and sorrow. Such a tragedy is too much.
Today, the Department of Defense released our annual suicide report for calendar year 2020. The results are disturbing. Suicide rates among our military and military families are still too high and the trends are not going in the right direction.
This is a major challenge for our department. We must redouble our efforts to provide all of our people with the care and resources they need, to reduce the stigma and barriers to care, and to ensure that our community uses simple safety measures and precautions to reduce the risk of harm. risk of future tragedies. We will continue to work quickly and urgently, in close collaboration with our partners at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
I know these are difficult days for many in our Defense Department staff, for our military communities, and for my fellow veterans. If you are planning to kill yourself or if you just think you might need a helping hand, please immediately seek the help of a mental health professional, contact family, friends, a member of the clergy or speak to a trained professional from the Veterans Center and Military Crisis Line or Military OneSource.
As I said, mental health is a time of health. We all need to do more, at all levels, to end the stigma that prevents getting help. We all need guidance, community and connection. Reaching out is a sign of strength and resilience.
We cannot bring back those we lost, but we hope we can somehow honor their memory by doing more now to prevent future suicide tragedies within our extended DOD family.
Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III
Please visit www.militaryonesource.mil, call 800-342-9647 or chat online with the Crisis Line for Veterans and Military: www.veteranscrisisline.net, call 800-273-8255 (press 1) or text 838255. Confidential support is available 24/7.