When it comes to discussing the hard topic of Veteran Suicide and the statistics behind the epidemic, we want to ensure that you have the background as well as most current information to help assist with reducing the veteran suicide rates.
In 2014 the VA released a statistical analysis of Veteran Suicide that reported more than 7,400 Veterans has taken their own lives accounting for roughly 18 percent of all suicides in America although Veterans only count for less than 9 percent of the U.S. population. This figure equates to 22 Veterans and 1 Active duty suicide, each day.
About 70 percent of veterans who took their own lives were not regular users of VA services.
VA officials released in a statement that the information will allow them to “inform our suicide prevention programs and policies, especially for groups at elevated risk for suicide, including older and female veterans.”
Together, the numbers point to a significant mental health risk for individuals who served in the military, though the specific reasons remain unclear. Our goal is to assist Veterans with identifying these reasons and doing what we can to assist in rectifying them.
Researchers found that the risk of suicide for veterans is 21 percent higher when compared to civilian adults. From 2001 to 2014, as the civilian suicide rate rose about 23.3 percent, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped more than 32 percent.
This problem is even more troublesome among female veterans, experiencing an increase of more than 85 percent compared to about 40 percent for civilian women.
Roughly 65 percent of all Veteran suicides in 2014 were from individuals 50 years or older, many of which spent little or no time fighting in the most recent conflicts and wars.
Providing support and assistance to suicidal veterans has proven difficult, in part because of the lack of data on the scope of the problem. That is where Quick Reaction Force 22 comes in.
“Of course, this is still 20 [deaths] too many,” said Joe Chenelly, executive director at AMVETS. “But we are grateful for the deeper, more accurate data analysis. Much still needs to be done, and this gives us a better idea where to focus.”
The below data is directly from the most recent VA Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet
Veteran Suicide Statistics, 2014
In 2014, an average of 20 Veterans died from suicide each day. 6 of the 20 were users of VA services.
In 2014, Veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults, while Veterans constituted 8.5% of the US population.
In 2010, Veterans accounted for 22% of all deaths from suicide and 9.7% of the population.
Approximately 66% of all Veteran deaths from suicide were the result of firearm injuries.
There is continued evidence of high burden of suicide among middle-aged and older adult Veterans.
In 2014, approximately 65% of all Veterans who died from suicide were aged 50 years or older.
After adjusting for differences in age and gender, risk for suicide was 21% higher among Veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adults. (2014)
After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 18% higher among male Veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adult males. (2014)
After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 2.4 times higher among female Veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adult females. (2014)
Overview of data for the years between 2001-2014
In 2014, there were 41,425 suicides among U.S. adults. Among all U.S. adult deaths from suicide, 18% (7,403) were identified as Veterans of U.S. military service.
In 2014, the rate of suicide among U.S. civilian adults was 15.2 per 100,000.
• Since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among U.S. civilian adults has increased by 23.0%.
In 2014, the rate of suicide among all Veterans was 35.3 per 100,000.
• Since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among U.S. Veterans has increased by 32.2%.
In 2014, the rate of suicide among U.S. civilian adult males was 26.2 per 100,000.
• Since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among U.S. civilian adult males has increased by 0.3%.
In 2014, the rate of suicide among U.S. Veteran males was 37.0 per 100,000.
• Since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among U.S. Veteran males has increased by 30.5%.
In 2014, the rate of suicide among U.S. civilian adult females was 7.2 per 100,000.
• Since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among U.S. civilian adult females has increased by 39.7%.
In 2014, the rate of suicide among U.S. Veteran females was 18.9 per 100,000.
• Since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among U.S. Veteran females has increased by 85.2%.
Veterans Crisis Line Expansion
The 24/7 Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) provides immediate access to mental health crisis intervention and support. Veterans call the national
suicide prevention hotline number, 1-800-273-TALK(8255) and then “Press 1” to reach highly skilled responders trained in suicide prevention and crisis intervention.
VCL also includes a chat service and texting option.
They are continuing to modify phone systems to allow for direct connection to the VCL by dialing “7” when calling the VA medical center.
We are hiring over 60 new suicide intervention responders/counselors for the VCL
Each responder receives intensive training on a wide variety of topics in crisis intervention, substance use disorders, screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment.
Since the establishment of the VCL through May 2016 the VCL:
Has answered over 2.3 million calls, made over 289,000 chat connections, and over 55,000 texts;
Has initiated the dispatch of emergency services to callers in imminent suicidal crisis over 61,000 times;
Has provided over 376,000 referrals to a VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator (SPC) thus ensuring Veterans are connected to local care;