Military Suicide Epidemic

Even though veterans only account for about 8% of the population. From an estimated 40,000 who people commit suicide in America every year, approximately 20% are veterans. Every death by suicide is a life that could have been saved and as the VA states “Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business,” everyone should do their part to help this crisis.

If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal please do not wait and seek help.

There is a line dedicated to veterans at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number. Their number is 1-800-273-8255. Press “1” for Veteran services. Veterans Chat can be accessed online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net Veterans Text is available at 838255.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY

 Military Suicide Statistics

Below are some statistics about Military (both Veteran and Active-Duty) suicides released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in June of 2018.

Between 2005 and 2015:

  • 67% of all military suicides result from a firearm.
  • The rate of suicide was 2.1 times higher in Veterans than non-veteran adults.
  • Veteran men were 1.3 times more likely to commit suicide than non-veteran adult men.
  • Veteran women were 2 times more likely to commit suicide than non-veteran adult women.
  • Though veterans ages 18-34 have higher rates of suicide, 58.1 percent of all military suicides occurred amongst those ages 55 and older.
  • About 20 active-duty service members died by suicide daily.
  • For every five suicides committed that year, one was military.

What Is Being Done?

Because of these numbers and statistics in May of 2018, by President Trump’s order, a Joint Action Plan was created in order to connect Veterans with suicide prevention resources and mental health care as part of a normal transition from service life to civilian life. This plan involves the VA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Defense (DoD) working together in order to provide Veterans with the services and resources they need, especially during their first year away from the armed services.

The VA has also, while working with the PsychArmor Institute, created an online suicide prevention training video and course. This course is called “S.A.V.E.” and it is an acronym that stands for Signs, Ask, Validate, Encourage, and Expedite. The course is a 25 minute long, free video and is focused on helping those who interact with veterans and how to talk with someone who could be at risk of committing suicide.

What Can You Do?

According to the National Association for Mental Illness in order to properly help someone who may be feeling suicidal you should first be able to identify warning signs. These signs can appear as subtle or dramatic changes in behaviors and/ or mood such as:

  • Suicidal Ideation, which can begin with simple comments and can be seemingly harmless. But, can become more dangerous and forward with time.
  • Mood swings
  • An increase in the amount of alcohol and drugs used
  • Aggressive, reckless, or impulsive behaviors can also be early signs.

There are also certain behaviors that when exhibited by a person, signify the need for immediate care. These can be, but are not limited to:

  • A change in mood from despair and erratic behavior to peaceful and calm
  • Organizing loose ends and giving away material possessions
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones or those around them
  • Planning out the suicide and finding the tools necessary

If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal please do not wait and seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. Press “1” for Veteran services. Veterans Chat can be accessed online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net Veterans Text is available at 838255.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY

This blog post was originally written for US & Latin Veterans Support Embassy and can be found at The Embassy Report At USLVSE just like at VCO we believe that veterans deserve the highest quality of life possible and we cannot do it without your support and contribution. Thank you.

For more information visit VA Mental Health and  PsychArmor

 

 

 

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