Military suicides have increased by as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019, and some incidents of violent behavior have spiked as service members struggle under COVID-19, war-zone deployments, national disasters and civil unrest. While the data is incomplete and causes of suicide are complex, Army and Air Force officials say they believe the pandemic is adding stress to an already strained force.

Army leaders are saying they've seen about a 30% jump in active-duty suicides and are looking at solutions such as shortening combat deployments. The Wounded Warrior Project says that between April and the end of August, they saw a 48% rise in referrals to mental health providers and a 10% increase in mental health calls.

Please join me in urging the Department of Veterans Affairs not to cut back mental health treatment for veterans and military families. The epidemic is only growing; VA care must grow with it.

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