About 70 percent of vets who took their lives were not regular users of Veterans Administration Medical Center care.
More post-9/11 vets have considered ending their lives, survey says.
For years, the department has estimated the vet’s death toll nationwide at around 22 individuals a day, but vet groups noted numerous gaps in the survey. Statistics were from about 20 states, and the Department of Defense was not requested to supply full military records.
The 2014 study includes more than 50 million vet’s military records from 1979 – 2014; every state is in the survey. The statistics, compiled over the last four years, comes from the Centers for Disease Control.
VAMC officials said in a statement that the information would allow the staff to “educate the suicide prevention programs and policies, given extra attention to elevated risk groups for vets to take their lives, which includes elder vets and women vets.”
The numbers point to a significant mental health risk for individuals who served in the military. The specific reasons remain a larger issue to uncover.
Researchers found that the risk of taking their lives for vets is higher when compared to civilian adults. From 2001 to 2014, as the civilians ending their life increased approximately 23.3 percent, the rate of vets taking their life jumped more than 32 percent.
The problem is particularly worrisome among female veterans, compared 40 percent for the women civilians to women vets rates rise more than 85 percent over that time.
Statistics showed roughly 65 percent of all vets ending their life in 2014 were vets 50 years or older; many spent little or no time fighting in the most recent wars. The above statement discounts the value of our vet’s life, no matter when they served.
Providing support and assistance to suicidal vets have been difficult. One of the biggest problems from the clinician’s standpoint is the lack of funds for the Veterans Administration Medical Center. The amount of vets needing help compared trained staff at the VAMC is extremely short. The vets are coming out of the military, are advised to seek help from the VAMC. The amount of time it takes it takes to receive the first appointment is more than 30 days. There is also a large gap between what services are needed and how many knowledgeable and trained clinicians services. Service providers to treat the vets. Contracting clinicians are helping, but more clinicians need education regarding the needs of the vets.
Veteran Administration Medical Center Crisis Line director resigns, text messages go unanswered.
Veteran Administration Medical Center has hired 5,300 mental health providers and support personnel. In the last two years, the VAMC approved the Licensed Professional Counselor by the VAMC. It upgraded the Vet’s Crisis Line to improve the services. The VAMC elevated the profile of its suicide prevention office within the department. The VAMC launched new partnerships with community health providers to offer to counsel to vets.
Officials hope to use the data increase clinical services, targeting specific regions and populations within the vet’s community to improve delivery of care.
Vets groups hailed the new research as a critical step ahead in addressing the problem.
“22 vets taking their lives a day, which is too many,” said Joe Chenelly, executive director at AMVETS. “We are excited to have the deeper, more accurate data analysis. However, much needs to be done to help the vets have a reason not to take their lives.”
Mr. Leo Shane III, author, covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. Mr. Shane’s email address is email@example.com.
Ms. Patricia Kime, the author, covers military and vets health care and medicine for Military Times. Ms. Kime’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In summary, the need for our veterans is great. Our veterans fought for us to have our freedom, we need to rally around them and help give them the services they require. The length of time they wait for an appointment with the VAMC is too long, for private practitioners clinicians to take on the burden but yet have to wait 90 days to receive any payment for these services is utterly irresponsible. In past wars, citizens rallied the troops, supported their needs. We need to step up to the plate, versus turn our backs on them. To lose another veteran to suicide is too much. Another reason to volunteer, give donations to agencies that are attempting to provide help.
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