Veteran Suicide Rates – VA Benefits Blog

Veteran Suicide Rates – Accuracy is the Key to Improving Resources

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by Levi Newman on March 3, 2012

 

An agreement between Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and 49 U.S. states could provide more consistent data on the suicide rates among veterans. A deal that could be ready as early as the summer of 2012.

From information made available by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Violent Death Reporting System, it is estimated that an averageof 18 veteran suicides occur each day —a number that is currently only calculated based on figures from 18 states. Shinseki deems this number as unreliable, with approximately 60 percent of the U.S. not being counted in those figures. The VA estimates that between 2008 and 2010, about 950 veterans enrolled in VA health care attempted suicide each month, a number they feel could be heavily skewed.

The VA is hopeful to have a more realistic scope of veterans’ suicides by April at the very latest. With 49 state governments committing to furnish statistics on veterans’ deaths in their states to the department, more accurate information can be made available to health officials in the hope that better care can be distributed across America. According to studies done by the VA, nearly 20 percent of the suicides that occur in the U.S. are committed by veterans. With only 6 million of the nation’s 22 million veterans enrolled in VA health services, attempting to track all veteran suicides might be impossible without the help of state run organizations.

Currently, the VA is heavily reliant on multitudes of sources, including the NVDRS and the Office of Environmental Epidemiology and Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center, programs that fall under the VA and not state run programs.

The lone holdout state is Colorado, though VA officials are currently in talks with the state governor.

 

Photo thanks to robbplusjessie under creative commons license on Flickr.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Hutchinson March 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

The way the VA handles Veterans applying for compensation. I feel they should be held responsible for some of the suicides of Veterans. They ask us to serve or back in the day force us to serve and when w come home people don’t accept us. How is one supposed to feel after serving their country. I have PTSD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Chronic Depression among many other medical problems. I have been diagnoised by the VA doctors and told that all my problems are service connected but they don’t even accept the words of their own doctors.

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dolores may March 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

One family in my town has had 3 Marine sons. Two trying to start a new civilian life but with problems. Younger one finishing bootcamp extra infantry training at Pendleton!!

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Lee T Woodward Sr March 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm

How accurate are these figures? Are all veteran affairs involved in this?Also what are the figures for NH, and VT?

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Ronald boulay March 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I am a Vietname vet that has attempted suecide 3 times. God saved me everytime. My job here is not finished. I have three friends that commited suecide.I i can prevent just one suecide my job will be done.

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