US to send psychiatrists to combat Alaska military suicides: Army
In 2021, at least 11 soldiers committed suicide in Alaska, with another six deaths still being investigated.
US Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), on Thursday, that the Department of Defense is sending an emergency "surge" of doctors, psychiatrists, religious chaplains, and other mental health experts to military bases in Alaska to tackle the rapid rise in suicides there.
"We are sending behavioral people and we will be doing a 100% mental health check of every soldier [stationed] in Alaska,” she said.
Wormuth called the deployment of the diverse group of mental health professionals a "surge" and said it would last six months in America's largest, least populated, and most northern state.
"We are doing a six-month surge. ...We are looking at reflagging the Alaska [military force] as 11 Army Alaska" in a bid to boost morale, she added.
In 2021, at least 11 soldiers committed suicide in Alaska, with another six deaths still being investigated. According to the military.com website, seven soldiers committed suicide in 2020, eight in 2019, and three in 2018.