Staff Perspective: New VA Suicide Prevention Efforts

Staff Perspective: New VA Suicide Prevention Efforts

We all know that suicide among Veterans is a significant problem. The Veteran’s Administration (VA) recently released information that highlights the extent of this problem and showcases the VA’s efforts to combat suicide. The data covers the records of over 50 million Veterans, ranging from 1979 through 2014 across all 50 states.

Some of the most significant statistics are as follows. In the most recent data examined, from 2014:

  • 20 Veterans per day died from suicide, on average
  • 2/3rds of all Veteran suicides were committed with a firearm
  • 65% of Veterans who committed suicide were 50 or older
  • Considering age and gender differences, Veterans were at a 21% higher risk for suicide than civilian adults
  • Veterans comprised 18% of all suicides among adults in the U.S. in 2014

This report also includes some of the efforts that the VA is undertaking to prevent suicide among Veterans. These efforts include an expansion of the Veterans crisis line, using predictive analytics to identify and intervene early, increasing mental health services for women, adding more telemental health services to reach Veterans who may not have access to local behavioral health providers, the use of mobile apps, creating public-private partnerships to help serve Veterans, proactive outreach and more.

To read the full fact sheet, please click here.

Chris A. Adams is the Online Services Project Manager for the Center for Deployment Psychology. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University.