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MILITARY MATTERS: With Army suicides on the rise, the widow of a ranger is helping

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 9:10 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTVM) - The Department of Defense has revealed the number of military suicides in the U.S. jumped by 15 percent in the last year, with one of the biggest spikes being in the army.

“You remember that by touching one life or impacting one life, can help so many other people that’re out there,” military widow Miranda Briggs said.

Miranda Briggs and her family have been through the unimaginable - her husband, army ranger Garret Briggs struggled with PTSD and took his own life back in 2018 so when she and her foundation, Fight The War Within, heard of a recent spike in active-duty suicides, they took the initiative and started speaking with as many troops as possible.

“We really see there’s a fear among active-duty service members across the board, especially those that have security clearances, they’re concerned that if they do reach out for help, it’ll damage their military career by coming forward,” Briggs said.

The DOD reports the army saw a 20% rise in suicides while the marine corps went up more than 30%. While PTSD and financial issues are certainly strong factors, army veteran and sociologist Jeffrey Yarvis believes the pandemic made a significant impact.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed us in a lot of ways through unit cohesion, belongingness, togetherness. So, if you’re cut off from that family a little more, I think it makes things difficult,” Yarvis said.

While it’s unclear what the department of defense will do moving forward, Briggs says she and her foundation will do everything in their power to let our nation’s heroes know they’re not alone.

“We can’t rewind the clock. We can’t bring back service members like my husband that struggled, but we can remember them by helping other people that are here,” she added.

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