Around 5,520 active-duty U.S. military personnel and veterans have committed suicide so far in 2018, according to non-profit organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
In order to draw attention to the unusually high suicide rate among American soldiers and veterans, the organization planted 5,520 miniature flags on Washington's Capitol Hill on Wednesday to commemorate those who took their own lives.
According to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study, an average of 20 veterans commit suicide each day.
Veterans' suicide account for about 18 percent of the suicide deaths in America.
According to another Veterans Affairs study conducted in 2015, women who served in the military were more than five times more likely to commit suicide compared to a woman who never served in the military.
For serving men, suicide rates increased by 50 percent compared to those who never joined the military.
In January, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing government departments to try to prevent suicide among military veterans by treating mental health problems before they become more serious.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said that the 12-month period after leaving service is the highest risk for suicide, and only 40 percent of military members had mental health coverage.
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