The Department of Veteran Affairs has been working to reduce the suicide rate among America’s veterans. According to a recent report by them, the overall rates have somewhat declined, but it also revealed some more troubling information.
Which Age Group is Affected?
Veterans between the ages of 18 and 34 seem to be impacted the most by suicide. Over the past 10 years, this age group’s suicide rate has increased from 40.4 per 100,000 people to 45.
Even though veterans account for about 8% of the population in the U.S. they make up 14% of all suicides and something needs to be keep this number on the decline.
In 2016 alone, 6,079 veterans committed suicide which seems like a lot, but this was over a 200 person decrease from the year before. The VA is noticing that suicide rates in veterans over the age of 55 are on the decline, but the younger generation of vets seems to be on the rise.
Are Vets Getting Enough Help?
At this scale, some believe the veteran suicide rates are an alarming public health priority and that soldiers should get more access to care even when they are serving. Often times, health benefits differ from active duty military members compared to our men and women in reserve.
Studies have found that suicide rates are also on the rise for reserve personnel. People are starting to think that active duty individuals should not be treated differently from military reserve individuals and major reform needs to occur.
VA secretary Robert Wilkie has promised to address suicide among veterans as a top priority, but others feel like it is still a topic that is receiving a lack of attention and more needs to be done about it. What is your opinion about this?