There have been disturbing increases in the suicide rates across America. Since 1999, suicides have increased over 30% in half of states, some of them all the way up to 58%. On top of that, the CDC found that 54% of those cases had no known mental health conditions.

Read about the CDC report here.

Among the rapid increase of American suicides, veteran suicides have also been on the rise. The VA has been working on their suicide data report, and have just recently updated their numbers and insights. The data spans from 2005 to 2015, and “is part of VA’s ongoing examination of more than 55 million civilian and Veteran death records that is being used to evaluate and improve VA’s Suicide Prevention Program.”

The analysis and complexity of the numbers means that 2015 is the most current year they can offer, and as time goes on we will see updated numbers in regards to more recent years. This delay means that if new policies are instated, the VA will likely not know how effective these policies really are until several years later. The is in contrast to the CDC report which was published in June of 2018, regarding American suicide numbers in 2017.

Some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • It was confirmed that veteran suicides are still on the rise, averaging 20.6 a day.
  • With adults, the rate of suicide is 2.1 times higher in veterans than non-veterans.
  • The suicide rate of those who do not use VA health services is rapidly increasing.
  • “In 2005, Veterans accounted for 11.3 percent of the U.S. adult population and 18.3 percent of all suicides among U.S. adults.”

Read the whole report here.

Read a VA fact sheet regarding the report here.

Image from Wikipedia

As the VA attempts to develop systems to combat the rising number of veteran suicides, they are consistently going through major changes that affect the entire organization’s effectiveness. They have not had a permanent Secretary of Veterans Affairs since David Shulkin’s dismissal in March, and since then President Trump has nominated Dr. Ronny Jackson, who eventually declined, and now has nominated Robert Wilkie — who had served as the acting Secretary for a while. Now the acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs is Peter O’Rourke, who has held the position since May 29.