Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die from suicide than their civilian counterparts. For women, that number goes up to 2.2 times more likely to die by suicide. From 2007 to 2017, the suicide rate among veterans jumped by nearly 50 percent, the total number increasing four of the last five years. By all accounts, the programs, initiatives, social media awareness campaigns, and rehabilitation programs are not affecting the number of veterans who end their lives. However, each year two-thirds of the deaths are in people who are not using VA health services.
Which begs the question, what can stem the tide?
Use services that are available.
In recent years, decisive action has been taken at VA medical centers across the country to address the mental and physical health concerns of the nation's veterans in a more timely manner. As a veteran, you have earned the benefits available to you at your local VA medical center. Contact them today to find out how you can receive the help you need.
Reach out to a friend.
It is important to remember that you are not alone, in spite of what you may feel at the time. If you are not comfortable talking to family members or friends about what you are experiencing, reach out to a former military friend, commander, or mentor to talk through what you are feeling. Chances are, they have experienced a similar traumatic event and can relate to how you feel.
Veteran Suicide Hotlines
If you or someone you know is a veteran in crisis, there is free, 24/7, confidential support available through the Veterans Crisis Line. Simply call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, or send a text to 838255. You can also chat online at https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/. You do not need proof of eligibility to access help through the hotline.