Over 42,000 deaths by suicide occur in the United States each year and 18% of those are Veterans while Veterans constitute only 8.5% of the US population. In August 2016, VA released a national suicide data report, Suicide Among Veterans and Other Americans, 2001-2014. The report was the most comprehensive analysis of Veteran suicide rates in the United States, examining more than 55 million records from 1979-2014. The startling data indicated an average of 20 Veterans died by suicide each day and 6 of those 20 were users of VA health care services. Approximately 67% of all Veteran deaths by suicide were the result of a firearm injury.
Veteran suicide isn’t just a national issue, it’s one the White River Junction VA continues to focus on with programs and initiatives to make suicide prevention everyone’s business. This September, suicide prevention month reminds us to BeThere for the Veterans and loved ones in our lives. The VAs BeThere campaign brings attention and support, emphasizing the fact that one small act could save the life of a Veteran or Service Member in crisis.
Suicide among our Veterans is tragic and we must all do something on behalf of those that served our nation. Suicide prevention is a top clinical priority in the VA and we can’t get to zero without the help and support of our community. Suicide is preventable!
The White River Junction VA healthcare system offers many services for Veterans including mental health professionals throughout the state who are available to meet with Veterans, walk-in mental health care services available six days/week and a 24/7 emergency department, resources for homeless Veterans, special programs for women Veterans and Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.
Important VA resources include the Veterans and Military Crisis Line, 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
Veterans or those concerned about a Veteran in crisis may call or chat online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net, or send a text message to 838255 to receive no cost, confidential support 24 hours a day seven days a week even if they are not registered at the VA or enrolled in healthcare. One call, one chat or one text can open the door to hope.
The VA is a public partner of the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center (VTSPC). You can support the work of the VT Suicide Prevention Center by participating in their Global Giving Accelerator crowdfunding campaign! Between September 11th and September 29th, CHL will raise $7,500 from 40 unique donors! Visit the www.vtspc.org and contribute today!