By Buddy Blouin

Every suicide is a tragedy and the death of Michelle Young is no different. The popular fitness influencer and Army Soldier passed away after taking her life as was reported on January 20, 2024. The incident comes months after Young took to her platform and reminded her followers to reach out when experiencing suicidal ideation and negative mental health. Sadly, Michelle Young leaves behind her 12-year-old daughter, friends and family, fellow Soldiers, and tens of thousands of followers wondering how this nightmare has become a reality.

Below, the content involves themes of suicide, which continues to affect the military community and civilians alike. If you are dealing with thoughts of suicide or know someone in crisis, the Veterans/Military Crisis Line is available 24/7/365 in a confidential setting. You can also call 988 and Press 1, text 838225, or chat online at MilitaryCrisisLine.net for professional help. Civilians dealing with suicidal ideation have similar mental health resources available by dialing 988 to reach the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline or online at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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Army Soldier Michelle Young, a Popular Social Media Influencer, Has Committed Suicide

Staff Sgt. Michelle Young was 34 years old before taking her life. The Michelle Young Instagram page (@micheleyoung17) is where the Soldier grew her personal brand as a fitness influencer bringing light humor, fashion, and an active lifestyle together as one.

Friends, family, and fans wrote on her page trying to process the events that have left her various communities searching for answers. From the outside looking in, it seemed as if Young had it all, but mental health can affect anyone at any time regardless of how great life may seem to others.

Young became a Soldier when she was around 18 years old. Her life of service would include tours in the Middle East for a 16-year career that helped defend the freedoms you and I enjoy today.

Compounding the tragedy is that Young’s death comes right after her daughter’s birthday. The pair were known to be close posting various photos together, even having a matching Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift costume for Halloween.

From modeling activewear to volunteering at crisis trauma shelters, Young had a lot on her plate and made an impact on those who knew her.

An advocate for mental health after her older brother killed himself when she was 14, Young encouraged followers during Suicide Prevention Week to reach out for help should they need it.

Suicide continues to be a tricky subject to understand for the military and…well anyone. However, measures and resources continue to be added in an attempt to help save those in the military community and their families, from themselves.

Annual Report on Suicide in the Military

The U.S. Defense Department (DoD) continues to work toward a better understanding of why members of the military and Veterans choose to take their own lives. A prime example is the Annual Report on Suicide in the Military.

In the report, data is presented to identify trends and understand changes involving suicides. The ultimate goal is to create viable solutions to reduce suicide rates over the long haul.

2022 is the latest batch of data available and unfortunately, overall suicide rates have been rising since 2011. Even though 492 service members committed suicide compared to 2021’s figure of 524, the rate was still an increase.

Enlisted men lead suicides by active service members; however, as we note with Michelle Young, women are also at risk. Dedicated resources and awareness continue to be explored to better understand and prevent suicides.

The DoD report also notes that the most common form of suicide by service members and their families is due to firearms. A concerning factor considering the nature of serving in the military and access thereof.

Related read: The Best Online Military Mental Health and Teletherapy Resources

Honoring a Life of Service for Michelle Young

Speculating is a dangerous game, particularly for such sensitive topics. No one may ever really know why Young decided what she did. In the end, it doesn’t matter much either because the end result is still a tragic loss of life from someone who brought life in so many ways.

Defending our nation through two tours in Afghanistan during her 16-year military career, it’s important to honor Michelle Young’s life of service to our nation. While her fame also grew through her fitness endeavors, Young’s greatest duties came from being there for her daughter.

Many grieve the loss of Michelle Young but none like her child. Money can never replace the love and impact of a parent but there are still many needs Young’s daughter will have now and in the future. If you would like to help her during this difficult time, a GoFundMe has been set up.

Read next: How To Use Your TRICARE Benefits For Teen Psychiatric Treatment

Image Source: @michelleyoung17/Instagram




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