Update On Veterans’ Suicide Rates

Suicide
Suicide message of hope from Suicide Prevention for Military, Veterans and Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Militarysuicideprevention/photos/

A 2015 article examined the accuracy of the common media reported statistic that 22 veterans committed suicide per day. Examples were given of these reports from various media outlets (e.g., Stars and Stripes).

That statistic came from pg. 15 of a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) report entitled, Suicide Data Report, 2012:

147,763 suicides were reported in 21 states…If this prevalence estimate is assumed to be constant across all U.S. states, an estimated 22 Veterans will have died from suicide each day in the calendar year 2010.

However, the statistic was extrapolated from 2010 data reported from only 21 states, which excluded Texas and California, two states with the largest population of veterans in the country.

The VA has now released a more recent comprehensive analysis of suicide rates of veterans. From Yahoo News:

An average of 20 veterans died from suicide every day in 2014.

Veterans in the top 0.1 percent of risk, who have a 43-fold increased risk of death from suicide within a month, can be identified before clinical signs of suicide are evident in order to save lives before a crisis occurs,” the VA said in a statement.

More importantly,

Data in this analysis supported that veterans who seek VA services may be able to decrease their risk of suicide. The report said that since 2001, the rate of suicide among veterans who used VA services increased by 8.8 percent while the rate of suicide among veterans who did not use VA services increased by 38.6 percent.

On a more productive note, we should remember the words of former Army PFC Dave West whose Facebook page is entitled, “Suicide Prevention for Military, Veterans and Support Group“.

Nothing can stop one’s determination when you set your mind to the task. Whenever you don’t find what you need to fulfill your dreams, improvise with what you have! It’s all in how you look at each situation. There is an answer to every problem.

The Group is a place “for Vets to have a place to talk with other Vets and supporters when they are dealing with personal issues! The ultimate goal of this group will be to support any Service member, or prior Service member with any help we can, and to get them the resources they need for help.”

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Important Notes:

1. Any veteran or active duty military personnel having thoughts of suicide should call the VA Helpline: 800.273.8255 or logon to their website, Veterans Crisis Line.

2. You can also find a nearby Suicide Crisis Center by going to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 800.273.8355 anytime 24/7.

Chuck Yarling has had many titles in his career thus far: veteran, engineer, math teacher, consultant, technical writer, book author and publisher, and triathlete. He was a member the Military Order of the Purple Heart and Bugles Across America, which plays Taps at military funerals and special events. Spec. 5 Chuck Yarling served with the 26th Combat Engineering Battalion in Vietnam as an awards clerk. His service with the U.S. Army resulted in being awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Army Commendation Medal. You may reach Chuck at [email protected]