28 Sep Suicide Rates Have Increased Among Young Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released an updated Suicide Data Report. While the overall veteran suicide rate has decreased slightly from 2005-2016, there has been a significant increase in the suicide rate among younger military veterans.
The specific group in focus is veterans between the age of 18 to 34. Suicide rates for this age group have been rising for a decade but have seen a more troubling jump within just a years’ time. In 2015, young veterans had a suicide rate of 40.4 per 100,000 population. By 2016, this statistic had increased to 45 suicide related deaths per 100,000 veterans.
The suicide rate is highest among veterans age 18 to 34, however, this age group does not hold the largest share of suicide deaths. Individuals age 55 and older account for nearly 60 percent of these deaths. This is largely explained by the veteran population being older.
The report shows that more than 6,000 veterans committed suicide each year from 2008 to 2016. As of 2016, this is 1.5 times greater than non-veteran adults. The data holds that an estimated 20 veterans commit suicide each day.
“Suicide prevention remains VA’s highest clinical priority. One life lost to suicide is one too many,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Data are an integral part of our public health approach to suicide prevention. These data offer insights that will help us build networks of support, interventions and research-backed suicide prevention initiatives to reach all Veterans, even those who do not and may never come to us for care.”