The number of suicide deaths in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year — more than the 295 Americans who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2012. The numbers were first reported by the AP; NPR has confirmed them.
The new figures show that the number of military suicides rose from 2011, when 301 such deaths were reported. And people who work with veterans say the numbers could grow worse, as returning soldiers adjust to civilian life. The AP says the numbers are considered to be “tentative,” pending review.
When he was in the Senate, Hagel showed a real interest in combating the military suicide epidemic. Should he be confirmed as the next SECDEF, ending this ongoing tragedy should be his top priority. If he’s looking for a highly successful program to turn to, he need only look to Vets4Warriors.