20 Vets A Day In 2014 Died By Suicide

Jul 10, 2016
Originally published on July 8, 2016 8:37 am

A new, more in-depth analysis of veteran records from all states from 1979 to 2014  indicates “that in 2014, an average of 20 Veterans a day died from suicide.”

An estimated 22 veterans a day – on average – committed suicide according to a Department of Veterans Affairs report in 2010. But that analysis was limited to data from only 20 states.

"It’s unacceptable it’s 20 a day," said U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), vice chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. "You know, when you talk to some of the VSOs (Veteran Service Organizations), they say it’s much more than that. So, it’s unacceptable. We have to do much, much more."

Bilirakis said he expects the House to pass legislation next week that will expand VA alternative therapies for mental health and offer more personalized pain management to veterans.

"Every veteran should have the opportunity - if he or she has PTS (post traumatic stress) or TBI (traumatic brain injury) – to have a service dog. At the University of South Florida, there’s the ART therapy being offered – Accelerated Resolution Therapy. It does wonders. That should be available within the VA," Bilirakis said.

The final 2016 VA report on veteran suicide is due out later this month. However, the VA did release some key findings:

  • 65% of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older.
  • Veterans accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults. This is a decrease from 22% in 2010.
  • Since 2001, U.S. adult civilian suicides increased 23%, while Veteran suicides increased 32% in the same time period. After controlling for age and gender, this makes the risk of suicide 21% greater for Veterans.
  • Since 2001, the rate of suicide among US Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8%, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6%.
  • In the same time period, the rate of suicide among male Veterans who use VA services increased 11%, while the rate of suicide increased 35% among male Veterans who do not use VA services.
  • In the same time period, the rate of suicide among female Veterans who use VA services increased 4.6%, while the rate of suicide increased 98% among female Veterans who do not use VA services.