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An Epidemic of Suicides Among Veterans


This from a new report described in the Army Times:

Troubling new data show there are an average of 950 suicide attempts each month by veterans who are receiving some type of treatment from the Veterans Affairs Department.

Seven percent of the attempts are successful, and 11 percent of those who don鈥檛 succeed on the first attempt try again within nine months.

The numbers, which come at a time when VA is strengthening its suicide prevention programs, show about 18 veteran suicides a day, about five by veterans who are receiving VA care.

It’s interesting that the Army Times didn’t post the actual report, about which I’m curious since this “new data” shows the exact same numbers that were reported way back in January by the Inter-Press Service. And even then it was getting worse over time:

Suicides among United States military veterans ballooned by 26 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to new statistics released by the Veterans Affairs (VA) department.

“Of the more than 30,000 suicides in this country each year, fully 20 percent of them are acts by veterans,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki at a VA-sponsored suicide prevention conference on Monday. “That means on average 18 veterans commit suicide each day. Five of those veterans are under our care at VA.”

But even if this is just the case of a story being recycled, I’m glad to see it in the news again. 20% of all suicides nationwide is a remarkable number that on an annual basis dwarfs the number of troops being killed by our enemies.

A matter of national security?

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