A Memorial Day, silently and solemnly, at Arlington National Cemetery. The VA is looking into the issue of veteran suicide.
The number of suicides among young veterans has increased “substantially”, according to a report released Wednesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs. (VA)
The most recent statistics show that 45 of every 100,000 veterans age 18-34 suicide in 2016 – up from around 40 a year earlier.
“These findings underline the fact that suicide is a national public health problem affecting communities everywhere,” the VA said in a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “Our goal is to prevent suicide among all veterans — even those who do not and may never seek care within the VA system.”
The VA found that there are more than 6,000 veteran suicides per year from 2008 to 2016. Veterans, good for 14 percent of all suicides in the United States in 2016, even veterans comprised only 8 percent of the population, the report said, according to the newspaper.
In the report, the VA described the veteran suicide as an “urgent crisis” that can’t address by itself. Yet there are also supporters say that the department has not devoted enough resources to this issue.
“If another population of 20 million people were exposed to these threats, would be considered a public health priority,” Paul Rieckhoff, chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the newspaper. “There has never been a national call to action.”
Last year, the VA inspector general of the department for suicide hotline had led to a high percentage of calls that you want to backup centers, a major fault of the department says that it is resolved.
On Tuesday, the inspector general also released a report after a veteran killed himself less than 24 hours after his departure from a VA facility in Minnesota. The report accused the facility of failing to provide follow-up care for the veteran, who was taken in the hospital on suicidal thoughts.
“Because many veterans do not use VA services and benefits, we must build networks of support, communication and care about the communities where veterans live and thrive,” the report said.
The data were released a day before a scheduled hearing with the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. At Thursday hearing, lawmakers are to discuss veteran suicide prevention efforts.
The VA’s confidential Veterans Crisis Line is open 24/7 for veterinarians and those concerned about them. The phone number is 1-800-273-8255.