NBC Nightly News (1/14, story 7, 0:30, Williams) aired a report highlighting “some sad numbers out of the Pentagon tonight: More American military service members died from suicide than combat last year.” In 2012, 349 US servicemembers took their own lives, while 295 “active duty troops died fighting in Afghanistan.” NBC added, “The Pentagon has correctly labeled the suicide rate an epidemic.”
The same point was made by US Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), according to aReuters (1/15). Murray said, “This is an epidemic that cannot be ignored.” She added, “As our newest generation of servicemembers and veterans face unprecedented challenges, today’s news shows we must be doing more to ensure they are not slipping through the cracks.”
The AP (1/15, Burns) reports, “Suicide prevention has become a high Pentagon priority, yet the problem persists.” Officials “say they are committed to pursuing ways of finding help for service members in trouble.” On Monday, Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said, “Our most valuable resource within the department is our people. We are committed to taking care of our people, and that includes doing everything possible to prevent suicides in the military.”
— “US military suicides hit record in 2012, outpace combat deaths, Reuters Middle East, January 15, 2013.