Veterans Suicide Levels Reach an Alarming Rate

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Mental Healthcare, Not Suicide

Some of the most respected and honored people living in the United States should be those men and women who have served in our armed forces. It is said that when the soldiers return from overseas after fighting in a war, they feel the worst part is over. They can feel relief; they made it back alive, and they no longer need to worry about dying in combat.

Too Many Face Suicide

Unfortunately, due to personal reasons for the soldiers, more US veterans have committed suicide between 2008 and 2017 than the number of US soldiers that died during the Vietnam War. In that war, there were more than 58,000 fatalities. In a period of 10 years, more than 60,000 US veterans ended their life – they committed suicide. During those ten years, more than 6,000 veterans took their life. Professionals blame this on the fact that they receive medical care to take care of their medical conditions. However, they do not receive mental health treatment.

The 2019 National Veteran Prevention Annual Report

In the 2019 Veteran’s report, it was revealed that more than half of the veterans used a firearm to end their life. Females used guns 43.2 percent of the time as opposed to male veterans who used a gun 70.7 percent of the time. Sadly, the rate of veteran suicide continues to grow each year. In 2017 6,139 veterans killed themselves. This was the worst year on record. This was a two percent increase from the previous year and a total increase of six percent since 2008. The most shocking revelation is that 70 percent of the veterans who committed suicide did not receive healthcare services from the VA in the lead-up to their suicide.

VA Secretary Responds

Robert Wilkie, the VA Secretary, said they are working to prevent suicide among all veterans if they are enrolled in VA health care or not. The department has adopted a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention. They are reaching out to faith communities, employers, schools, and health care organizations to reach veterans where they live and thrive. Even so, the Government Accountability Office reported in December 2018 that the VA left nearly $5 million of its suicide prevention outreach budget unused. Wilkie has said that veteran suicide requires an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to preserve the lives of our Veterans who have served our country. He said, “This is a call to action.”

Veteran’s served our country, yet our country does not serve them.