Veteran suicides in 2014 totaled more than 7,400 according to a 2016 VA (Veterans Administration) study and report. That averages out to over 20 every single day. A previous, narrower study indicated the number was 22 per day. However, the lower number doesn’t make it any less tragic.
Millions of veteran records were included in this larger study from 1979 to 2014, with vets from every state. The death figures came from the US CDC (Center for Disease Control.) The study also found that veterans make up about 9% of the population. However, they commit 18% of the suicides. That’s twice the rate of non-veterans. Because it started in 1979, the study did not include the years right after WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam.
From 2001 to 2014, female veterans saw their suicide rates rise more than 85 percent. And, about two-thirds of all veteran suicides in 2014 were people 50 years or older. Surprisingly, many of these vets spent little or no time-fighting in the most recent wars.
How Can I Help?
This information reflects a tragic situation for our country. These brave warriors need support and understanding, and free access to mental health professionals. If you are interested in helping, here is a partial list of organizations working specifically on this issue.
- The American Legion – we supply wounded warriors with comfort items and assistance.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars – The VFW is committed to helping change the narrative and stigma surrounding mental health.
- National Veterans Foundation – A Vet-to-Vet crisis hotline, the Lifeline for Vets, in operation since 1985 and staffed by trained fellow Veterans.
- Mission 22 – Whether you’re a vet, a family member, or part of the community, you’re part of the mission.
- Objective Zero – We believe veteran suicide can be prevented through the simple act of listening.
- Active Heroes – National activities, peer support, and resources for military heroes and their families
- The Battle Buddy Foundation – dedicated to helping combat veterans transition back to civilian life while living with the effects of PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other combat-related disabilities.
- Veterans Crisis Line – Veterans and service members who are in crisis — and their families and friends — can call the Veterans and Military Crisis Line at (317) 659-6899 and press 1.