Deaths by suicide among active-duty military troops rose to a record high in 2018, according to a new Pentagon report released Thursday.
The report shows that in 2018, 541 service members died by suicide, compared to 511 in 2017. The rates of suicide deaths across the Army, Marine Corps and Navy all increased from the year prior, with only the Air Force showing a decrease. The report also found that the majority of service members who died by suicide were enlisted men under 30 years old, with most of them using a gun as their suicide method.
The Pentagon said after taking into account differences in age and sex, the military suicide rate was roughly the same as the overall U.S. rate, which has also increased over time.
The report was released just days after the Navy confirmed that three sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush killed themselves within the same week.
When asked about the Pentagon report, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said: "I wish I could tell you we have an answer to prevent further, future suicides in the Armed Services. We don't. We are caught up in what some call a national epidemic of suicide among our youth. And not just our youth, but it's something we continue to wrestle with."
If you need to talk to someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.