During the month of November we recognize and thank the Veterans who have served our country. As brave as these soldiers are, they are not immune to the struggles of mental health.
The 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report from the US Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, shared this snapshot of veterans and suicide:
“Veterans do not live, work, and serve in isolation from their communities, the nation, or the world. The issue of suicide in the U.S. also affects the Veteran population. Below, we provide the most current Veteran suicide data, looking at both Veterans served by VHA and Veterans not accessing VHA care.
Total Number of Veteran Suicides, 2005–2018
As is true of the U.S. population broadly, the Veteran population has experienced an increase in the number of deaths by suicide.
• The number of Veteran suicide deaths per year increased from 6,056 in 2005 to 6,399 in 2017 and 6,435 in 2018.
• The annual number of Veteran suicide deaths has exceeded 6,300 since 2008.
• The annual number of Veteran suicide deaths increased by 36 from 2017 to 2018, and by 379 from 2005 to 2018.
• The number of Veteran suicides per year was lowest in 2006 and highest in 2014, and the number in 2018 was lower than in six of the prior 13 years.
Average Number of Veteran Suicides per Day, 2005–2018
The average number of Veteran suicides per day increased from 2005 to 2018.
• From 2005 through 2018, the average number of U.S. adults who died by suicide each day rose steadily. In 2005, an average of 86.6 American adults, including Veterans, died by suicide each day. There were an average of 124.4 deaths each day in 2017 and an average of 127.4 in 2018.
• Since 2005, the average number of Veteran suicide deaths per day has remained between 17 and 18, despite observed decreases in the size of the Veteran population. In 2018, an average of 17.6 Veterans died by suicide each day.
• The average of 17.6 Veteran suicide deaths per day in 2018 was higher than the 17.5 average suicide deaths per day in 2017. In 2018, the average of 17.6 Veteran suicides per day comprised 6.5 Veterans with recent VHA use and 11.1 Veterans without recent VHA use.”
To see the full report click here: 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report (va.gov)