Veteran suicides elevated in 2021, new Division of Veterans Affairs information exhibits

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Extra veterans died by suicide in 2021, the primary full 12 months of the pandemic, than the earlier 12 months, in accordance with new information launched Thursday by the U.S. Division of Veterans Affairs.

About 6,390 former service members discovered their lives in 2021, about 110 greater than in 2020, the Division of Veterans Affairs’ newest annual report on suicide prevention discovered.

The report stated that the suicide fee amongst veterans elevated by about 24%, in comparison with about 6% amongst male veterans.

The VA cited stressors felt throughout the nation in 2021 which can be related to elevated suicide dangers, together with larger monetary stress, housing instability, ranges of tension and melancholy, well being care limitations, and a spike in firearm possession.

That 12 months, the quantity and fee of suicides among the many general U.S. inhabitants rose 4% in 2021 after two consecutive years of decline in 2019 and 2020. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said On the finish of September.

Earlier than 2021, veteran suicides had declined for 2 years in a row, the VA stated.

The company stated there have been some “anchors of hope” amongst veterans in 2021. The variety of veteran suicides yearly has fallen from about 6,700 in 2018, and suicide charges have fallen by about 8% amongst male veterans, ages 75 and older.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough stated in an announcement that the company is dedicated to utilizing “each software at our disposal to stop these tragedies.”

“Nothing is extra necessary to the VA than stopping veteran suicide — nothing,” he stated.

The brand new numbers come because the Veterans Disaster Line receives a file variety of requests for assist this 12 months amid rising considerations concerning the psychological well being of veterans and repair members after September 11.

The suicide hotline acquired greater than 88,000 calls, texts and chats in March — the very best variety of month-to-month calls ever, NBC Information beforehand reported.

On the time, the VA stated there have been a mix of things, together with consciousness campaigns and marketing campaign launches The new crisis line phone number is 988, seemingly prompting extra individuals to make use of the hotline. However many veterans stated they imagine the surge is instantly linked to the turbulent finish to the 20-year-old battle in Afghanistan.

Whereas the VA stated it doesn’t differentiate between suicides by era, Thursday’s report confirmed suicide charges have been highest amongst veterans ages 18 to 34.

Virginia Division of Well being Undersecretary Dr. Sherif Elnahal stated officers will do “all the things we will” to study from the newest report and finish veteran suicides.

He added: “We is not going to relaxation till this purpose turns into a actuality.”

In the event you or somebody you understand is in disaster, name 988 to entry the Suicide and Disaster Lifeline. You may also name the community, previously often called the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, textual content HOME to 741741 or go to for added sources.

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