Virginia Governor and retired Army major Ralph Northam visits Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, on July 10, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

Social Services departments in two Tri-City area localities and two local hospitals will be taking part in a statewide pilot program aimed at preventing suicides among military service members, veterans and their families.

Last week, Gov. Ralph S. Northam announced the launch of the "Virginia Identify, Screen and Pilot" program that will run into September, according to a news release from the governor's office. The goal of the program, according to the release, is to get military- and civilian-related healthcare providers working together to eliminate duplicity and gaps in community programs and services offered to military families.

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Soldiers with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, walk in what could be mistaken for another planet. Kandahar, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2011 (Army photo/Sgt. Ruth Pagan)

(Reuters Health) - While army suicides have historically decreased during wartime, that trend appears to have reversed in recent decades, a new study of U.S. records finds.

Researchers poring over nearly 200 years of data found that unlike earlier times when there was a decline in suicide rates among U.S. Army soldiers during and just after wars, the rate has risen significantly since 2004, according to the report in JAMA Network Open.

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The Navy is on pace to surpass last year's record number of suicides, according to figures provided by the service.

A total of 53 active-duty and seven reserve sailors have died by suicide so far this year, and that is "roughly a little bit ahead" of the number of sailors who had taken their own lives this time in 2018, the Navy's top suicide prevention officer said.

"That trend is unacceptable," Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck, director, 21st Century Sailor, told reporters on Thursday. "We are looking at every aspect of why that trend continues, at least for the last three years. We're determined not to allow it to continue the way it's going."

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U.S. Air Force/Technical Sgt. Thomas Grimes

The National Guard's suicide rate has surpassed the entire active-duty force and the reserves, as well as the civilian population.

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Suicide prevention pins are displayed in recognition of suicide prevention and awareness month by the 81st Medical Operations Squadron mental health team. (U.S. Air Force photo / Kemberly Groue)

The Air Force is the only military branch that saw a decrease in both active-duty and Reserve suicides last year, according to data provided by the service.

A total of 58 active-duty suicides were reported in 2018, of which 16 deaths are suspected suicides pending confirmation, the service's data shows. By comparison, 63 active-duty airmen took their own lives in 2017; however, the five-year average for Air Force active-duty suicides is roughly 61 deaths per year, showing little has changed since 2014.

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Photo: Stephen Baker/U.S. Army

The number of active-duty soldiers who took their own lives reached a five-year high in 2018, an Army spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose on Thursday.

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