Transitioning to life after the military can be difficult, and issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, physical disabilities, and depression compound the problems. Veterans have a suicide rate that is 50% higher than those who have never served in the military.
In July, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in Washington released the results of a study examining over 55 million Veteran records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. The analysis revealed that an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide in 2014.
Other key findings included:
- Most of those who died are older. 65% of 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.
- The risk of suicide is 21% greater for Veterans.
- Veterans who receive treatment are better off. 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%.
The VA is attempting to put in place a number of measures to address the suicide risk in Veterans, including ensuring same-day service for Veterans with urgent mental health needs. Other efforts include:
- Using predictive modeling to identify Veterans at high risk of suicide and providing early intervention
- Establishing four new regional telemental health hubs.
- Hiring over 60 new crisis intervention responders for the Veterans Crisis Line. Responders are trained in crisis intervention, substance use disorders, screening, brief intervention, and treatment referral.
- Building new collaborations between Veteran programs in VA and those working in community settings, such as Give an Hour, Psych Armor Institute, University of Michigan’s Peer Advisors for Veterans Education Program (PAVE), and the Cohen Veterans Network.
- Creating stronger inter-agency (e.g. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health) and new public-private partnerships (e.g., Johnson & Johnson Healthcare System, Bristol Myers SquibbFoundation, Walgreen’s, and many more) focused on preventing suicide among Veterans.
Trained in a military mindset the eschews any perceived weaknesses, it is often difficult for Veterans who are suffering to ask for help. Anyone who suffers a job loss or struggles with relationship issues and financial worries feels a heavy weight of stress on their shoulders. Unfortunately, Veterans may feel as if they should not need help with these burdens.
If you are suffering from depression or thoughts of suicide, contact us. We can help you get the psychological help you deserve. Immediate help is available at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or texting 838255.
13 Sep 2016 at 1:24 PM — 8 errors