Veteran suicide numbers in NC soar above national average
Oct. 20, 2017
Veterans in North Carolina committed suicide at a rate comparable with that of veterans nationwide in 2014 but at a rate more than double that of the generation population, according to a newly updated report.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recorded 249 veteran suicide deaths in North Carolina in 2014, more than double the number of veteran suicides reported in the same year in neighboring South Carolina.
The state-by-state veteran suicide data was released last year, updated again in 2017 and re-released in September. It represents the largest report ever compiled on veteran suicides.
The VA examined veteran suicides over the course of 35 years, beginning in 1979, to better understand suicide trends across the nation.
"There is a lot of stigma about mental illness and suicide, especially in regards to military culture," said Dr. Craig Martin, chief medical officer for Vaya Health, a mental health service provider in Buncombe County.
Martin previously worked for the VA in New England.
In North Carolina, the veteran suicide rate was 37 per 100,000 in 2014, according to the report, versus a national suicide average of 17 per 100,000 people.
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