Army Wants Sergeants in the Barracks on Weekends to Prevent Suicides
By Matthew Cox
November 8, 2018
The U.S. Army's top official said Thursday that he wants to see sergeants making regular visits to the barracks on weekends to help reduce the number of soldiers who die by suicide.
Suicide is a problem that every service struggles to prevent. In calendar year 2017, 509 U.S. military personnel died by suicide, according to Defense Department numbers. Of that number, the Army suffered 298 deaths by suicide across the active duty, National Guard and Reserve.
"It's a tragedy that we have suicide in our ranks, but it's coming into our ranks from society writ large," Army Secretary Mark Esper told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute. "Every week, I am signing letters to families offering my condolences for soldiers who have taken their lives."
The problem typically affects younger soldiers and is usually "related to personal financial problems, relationship problems and career concerns," Esper said, adding that alcohol consumption can be a factor as well.
It's also "typically a Friday night though Sunday morning problem," he said.
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