Six soldiers stationed in Alaska have died by suicide between January and May of 2021, a surprising statistic, considering the U.S. Army spent more than $200 million in Alaska to address a mental health crisis that it identified in 2019, according to USA TODAY.
“The 2021 suicide toll among the roughly 11,500 soldiers stationed there already has nearly matched last year when seven soldiers died by suicide while stationed with U.S. Army Alaska, whose principal posts are Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage,” the newspaper wrote.
In a survey of 4,000 soldiers, 10.8 percent had had suicidal ideas, according to the newspaper. That’s four times the general U.S. rate of suicide.
The survey also found that soldiers at Fort Wainwright report having trouble sleeping, worry about being able to buy high-quality food to eat, worried about finances, and a third of the soldiers said their leaders tolerate hazardous drinking while the soldiers are off duty.
Alaska had the second highest suicide rate in the nation in 2019. But the Army was seeing problems with a cluster of slides at Fort Wainwright from 2014 and 2019.
Read more at USA TODAY.