- According to a 2019 Congressional Research Service Report titled “Recent Trends in Active Duty Military Deaths,” between 2006 and 2018, 3,863 active duty service members ended their own lives. This is more than service members who were killed in action (2,710) and service members who died by wounds received (886) combined.
- According to a 2016 report from the Office of Suicide Prevention, while veterans account for only 8.5% of the U.S. population, 18% of all adult suicides in the United States are veterans, or about 20 veteran suicides per day.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and we at Tee It Up for the Troops observe the World Suicide Prevention Day each year on September 10. In fact, suicide prevention is one of the six pillars that Tee It Up for the Troops was built on.
The facts are in front of us, and the number of veteran suicides compared to the civilian population is disproportionately high. Twenty veterans a day is 20 too many. Veteran suicide awareness is the war in front of us, a daily battle that is on the forefront of our organization’s efforts and resources. Twenty veterans a day are dying by their own hands. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for our fallen heroes. For every 20 who daily fall, there are scores upon scores who daily struggle, who daily fight to live another day. These are the men and women we present to you today. These are the lives we, together, are fighting for.
As COVID-19 Crisis Continues, Suicide Risk for Veterans Grows
The preceding numbers on veteran suicide are the latest available to us, but the world has dramatically changed since then. Those 20 veterans a day do not include the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit America tremendously hard. Across the globe, and certainly here at home, we have seen not only the physical toll of this virus, but also the mental toll on the general population. How much more so for our veteran brothers and sisters who have already been fighting to keep their mental acuity strong and sound? The year 2020 has been incredibly brutal for these individuals. We propose to make a difference, and we are asking for your help.
Our Tee It Up for the Troops events and REUNION program are instrumental in bringing more awareness to veteran suicide, help fund our efforts, and are powerful ways for you, your company, and your foundation to make a significant difference in a veteran’s daily life. We know that a healthy mental well-being is tied to activating our bodies as much as we are able, being outside, and with the opportunity to socialize. Our events give these veterans something they can enjoy with brothers/sisters outside of war.