Military suicides have surged to a five-year record according to a report by the Department of Defense.

At least one New York lawmaker says not enough is being done to address military suicides.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday called a Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee hearing on the growing problem.

The subcommittee of veterans and mental health experts met to take a look at the existing systems of support for military servicemen.

Currently, the Department of Defense has a policy that requires mental health professionals to report many cases of mental health concerns related to service to a commander.

Gillibrand says that policy leads to mistrust and barriers to treatment because service members fear repercussions to their career.

The senator says the criteria for reporting is too vague and is urging the DOD to review that policy to allow for maximum confidentiality. 

Air Force veteran Emily Bren lost her husband, Jason, who was also a veteran of the Air Force, to suicide in May.

Bren says while in service, her husband struggled to seek help.

"The airmen had a very difficult sense to say that they were having problems and seek treatment and get care because there was always that fear in their minds that when they receive care that they would lose their flying status and lose their ability to deploy," said Bren.

According to the Department of Defense report, more than 500 service members died by suicide in 2018.

The active duty suicide rate that year was approximately 24.8 per 100,000 service members, a sharp increase from 21.9 in 2017.

The report released in September says those rates have been increasing over the last five years.

The suicides are also prevalent among younger service members.