Today, the Department of Defense released its Annual Report on Suicide in the Military for Calendar Year 2022.
Even one suicide is too many. We have much more work to do to reduce suicide across our Force, and owe it to our service members and our military families to provide the best possible care; to identify risk factors and spot warning signs; and to eliminate the tired old stigmas around seeking help.
That is why I stood up the Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee (SPRIRC) in 2021 and, after reviewing its thoughtful recommendations, took immediate action. I directed the Department to rapidly improve the delivery of mental health services to ensure that all of our teammates have easy access to the support that they need and deserve. In September 2023, I announced a suicide prevention campaign plan with five lines of efforts and over 100 enabling tasks modified from the SPRIRC’s recommendations.
There is no single solution to preventing suicide, but I remain focused on actions that will make a real difference and change the culture around this critical challenge. Together, we can prevent suicide and take care of every outstanding patriot who steps up to defend our country.
If you or one of your loved ones are struggling or needs extra support, you are not alone. Please call the suicide and crisis lifeline at 9-8-8.