“GLM 40” Highlight in Health: Veteran Community Suicide Awareness

 

Our GLM staff have selected Veteran Community Suicide Awareness as an important highlight within the area of Health. As a team of US Army veterans, this topic is very near to our hearts and very hard to convey. Every suicide is a tragic outcome. Even though we know, suicide is never the right answer; we have to realize, for some, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When pain is never ending, or depression is a constant state of mind and anxiety seems to rule action, there doesn’t seem to be many answers for relief. The unique warrior’s journey to recovery and reconnection is long and hard after returning home. No veteran should walk it alone. So look at the latest statistics below to see that veterans still need family and society to help them find their way home before they choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

In late September 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released national and state-level findings from its most recent analysis of Veteran suicide data. Key points include:

— An average of 20 current or former service members die each day—a rate of 30.1 per 100,000. This is more than twice the rate of our civilian counterparts.

— Of these 20 veteran suicides per day, only six(6) have received recent VA health care.

— Rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18-34)

— The rate of suicide among 18-34-year-old Veterans continues to increase — The use of firearms as a method of suicide is high and increasing.

Nationally, there isn’t solid data on the precise reasons for the trends and rates we are seeing in veteran suicide. But some significant reoccurring reasons are seen as contributing factors. Some of these factors are: problems accessing VA Healthcare, contending with Homelessness, Denial of MST Claims, Chronic pain and opioid dependence. Nationwide, roughly half of veterans access VA healthcare, but more than 2/3 of veterans who committed suicide were identified as not receiving recent VA healthcare. Also, veterans with a history of homelessness are five times more likely to attempt suicide. Finally, high risk factors for suicidal ideation are prevalent among individuals who have been victims of sexual violence/abuse and living with chronic pain, whether physical or emotional. It is noted likely that medication overdoses may often be intentional and not merely accidental. However, veterans are twice as likely as non-veterans to die from accidental overdoses of opioids. Bottom-line what this new data published in 2018, it is clear is that veteran suicide continues to be a crisis in the U.S. as a whole. We are proud to recognize the importance of Veteran Community Suicide Awareness in the area of Health in our 2018 “GLM 40” Highlights Edition!

Information Courtesy: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/data.asp  and https://www.nycveteransalliance.org/veteran_suicide_crisis

If you are a veteran or know a veteran, please refer them to the National Veteran Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-8255. Fellow veterans, just save the phone number in your phone. You will always have it when you need it.

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