A new, more in-depth analysis of veteran records from all states from 1979 to 2014 indicates “that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide.”
An estimated 22 veterans a day – on average – committed suicide according to a Department of Veterans Affairs report in 2010. But that analysis was limited to data from only 20 states.
The final 2016 report is due out later in July. However, the VA did release some key findings:
- 65% of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older.
- Veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults. This is a decrease from 22% in 2010.
- Since 2001, U.S. adult civilian suicides increased 23%, while Veteran suicides increased 32% in the same time period. After controlling for age and gender, this makes the risk of suicide 21% greater for Veterans.
- Since 2001, the rate of suicide among US Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8%, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6%.
- In the same time period, the rate of suicide among male Veterans who use VA services increased 11%, while the rate of suicide increased 35% among male Veterans who do not use VA services.
- In the same time period, the rate of suicide among female Veterans who use VA services increased 4.6%, while the rate of suicide increased 98% among female Veterans who do not use VA services.
“Any time a person who fought to defend America dies by their own hand, it’s a tragedy. And these numbers are heartbreaking proof that we have a long way to go in order to end this troubling trend.
“Last year, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which is helping to increase the availability and efficacy of VA’s suicide prevention and mental health services. The law is a step in the right direction, but sustained progress will require a comprehensive approach to help ensure our most at-risk veterans have not only the care they need but also a job, a purpose and a system of support in place to help carry them through their struggles.
“Therefore, we as a nation must do more to encourage veterans in need to seek treatment and ask for help. And until we stop the epidemic of veteran suicides in this country, there will always be more work to do.”
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