The rate of suicides in the US military spiked 15 percent last year, new data shows.
Last year saw 580 suicides compared to 504 the previous year. The Army National Guard experienced the most significant increase by about 35 percent.
“The findings are troubling,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. “Suicide rates among our service members and military families are still too high, and the trends are not going in the right direction.”
John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said that the Defense Department could not fully explain the dramatic increase.
“It’s difficult to denote specific causality with suicide on an individual basis, let alone on an institutional basis,” Kirby said. “And I think that’s why it’s so difficult for us to speak to it with any specificity, except to say we take this very, very seriously.”