The Pentagon is concerned over a report which states that suicides among active-duty U.S. military service members increased by as much as 20 percent during the coronavirus pandemic.

The services are still compiling data but according to both Army and Air Force officials, the isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is adding stress to servicemembers. Nowhere is this more serious than the Army, where active-duty suicides have spiked by nearly 30 percent in 2020. The Army has already suffered 114 suicides this year compared to 88 by the same time last year.

In contrast, Air Force officials are reporting 98 suicides thus far this year, the number is unchanged from this time in 2019. However, this has been the highest number in over 30 years for the Air Force.

Marine Corps and Navy chiefs did not respond when asked to comment on the latest rise in suicide rates. 

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the AP on Sunday that they are still searching for the exact cause behind the spike in suicides. Yet, they believe that there is a relation with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I can’t say scientifically, but what I can say is — I can read a chart and a graph, and the numbers have gone up in behavioral health-related issues,” he said.

“We cannot say definitively [that the spike in suicides] is because of COVID. But there is a direct correlation from when COVID started, the numbers actually went up.”

“We know that the measures we took to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID could amplify some of the factors that could lead to suicide,” James Helis, Director of the Army’s resilience program, said after attending the briefings on suicide data for the military.