New research released Monday shows the post-9/11 wars launched by the U.S. military since 2001 have resulted in over 30,000 suicides by active duty American solders and veterans—over four times the number killed in combat operations.
According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project—established in 2010 to account for the loss of lives and taxpayer dollars spent on U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—an estimated 30,177 veterans and service members have killed themselves over the last nearly two decades, compared with 7,057 members of the military who have been killed in combat.
The findings were compiled from interviews, government data, and secondary literature.
The report (pdf) “reveals an increasingly severe crisis,” the authors wrote, with the veteran suicide rate per 100,000 people in the U.S. outpacing that of the public.
“The V.A. 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report reveals the suicide rate of veterans overall and adjusted for age and sex is 1.5 times that of the general population,” the report reads. “This rate is likely a conservative one because, unlike earlier reports, the V.A. only counts veterans who were federally activated, leaving out Reservists and National Guardsmen who were not federally activated.”
From 2011 to 2020 an estimated 1,193 National Guard members and 1,607 Reservists have died by suicide; data is not available for the first decade after 9/11.
Among active duty service members, 5,116 have died by suicide in the past two decades.