VA Reveals Its Veteran Suicide Statistic Included Active Duty Troops

July 13, 2018

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Stars and Stripes

Federal data on the average daily number of veteran suicide deaths includes active duty service members, not just veterans. According to a recent report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 20.6 veterans, active duty service members, and non-active Guard and Reserve members died by suicide each day in 2015. Of those, 16.8 were veterans and 3.8 were active duty, Guard, and Reserve members. While the VA statistic has always included active duty service members, this is the first time that the subgroups have been identified in the VA’s reporting. This new information demonstrates the importance of using a comprehensive approach to prevent suicide, said Heidi Kar, a project director at Education Development Center. “The biggest message is that suicide prevention is everyone’s job,” she said. “It’s a problem for active duty, it’s a problem for vets, it’s a problem for the elderly and for young people. So, the response has to be multidimensional, and different sectors have to problem-solve together.”

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