VA study finds more veterans committing suicide
By Greg Jaffe
Friday, February 1, 12:01 AM
Numbers according to the VA
29 and younger, non-veteran 24.4%, veteran 5.8%
30-39 non-veteran 20.0, veteran 8.9%
40-49 non-veteran 23.5, veteran 15.0%
50-59 non-veteran 16.9, veteran 20.0%
60-69 non-veteran 7.4, veteran 16.8%
70-79 non-veteran 4.2, veteran 19.0%
80 and older non-veteran 3.6, veteran 14.5%
Every day about 22 veterans in the United States kill themselves, a rate that is about 20 percent higher than the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2007 estimate, according to two-year study by a VA researcher.
The VA study indicates that more than two-thirds of the veterans who commit suicide are 50 or older, suggesting that the increase in veterans’ suicides is not primarily driven by those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There is a perception that we have a veterans’ suicide epidemic on our hands. I don’t think that is true,” said Robert Bossarte, an epidemiologist with the VA who did the study. “The rate is going up in the country, and veterans are a part of it.” The number of suicides overall in the United States increased by nearly 11 percent between 2007 and 2010, the study says.
Bossarte said much work remains to be done to understand the data, especially concerning the suicide risk among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. They constitute a minority of an overall veteran population that skews older, but recent studies have suggested that those who served in recent conflicts are 30 percent to 200 percent more likely to commit suicide than their non-veteran peers.
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