Military Suicides: One U.S. Veteran Dies Every 65 Minutes

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WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (Reuters) – The most extensive study yet by the U.S. government on suicide among military veterans shows more veterans are killing themselves than previously thought, with 22 deaths a day – or one every 65 minutes, on average.

The study released on Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs covered suicides from 1999 to 2010 and compared with a previous, less precise VA estimate that there were roughly 18 veteran deaths a day in the United States.

More than 69 percent of veteran suicides were among individuals aged 50 years or older, the VA reported.

“This data provides a fuller, more accurate, and sadly, an even more alarming picture of veteran suicide rates,” said Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, who has championed legislation to strengthen mental health care for veterans.

The news came two weeks after the U.S. military acknowledged that suicides hit a record in 2012, outpacing combat deaths, with 349 active-duty suicides – almost one a day.

That was despite sharper focus at the leadership level at the Pentagon and VA on the suicide problem, and came during an overall rise in suicides in the United States. The number of suicides in the United States rose 11 percent from 2007 to 2010, the VA said.

The VA did not provide raw data and acknowledged its national figures were still estimates. The new study was based on data collected from 21 states in which military status is reported on the death certificate. It said more data from more states were being processed.

Reuters last year obtained less-detailed data for the 2005-to-2010 period from 32 states, also showing a significant rise in the number of suicides among the country’s 23 million veterans.

The VA said that while the number of veteran suicides had risen, the percentage of all suicides in America identified as “veteran” declined from 1999 to 2003 and had remained relatively constant in recent years.

The VA said the data would help it better identify where at-risk veterans may be located and improve targeting of specific suicide intervention and outreach activities.

“We have more work to do and we will use this data to continue to strengthen our suicide prevention efforts,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Peter Cooney)

2 thoughts on “Military Suicides: One U.S. Veteran Dies Every 65 Minutes

  1. They’re prime for pulling the plug;
    under the influence of drugs and alcohol,
    to deaden the excruciating pain,
    from bringing back with them,
    the haunting visions;
    the burdensome weight of guilt and shame,
    because of their ruthless and sadistic senseless killing
    of men, women and children CIVILIANS.

    Life looses all meaning for the “do as you are told” military whores
    of the banking pimps.

    War is our business and business is GOOD.

  2. It is also possible that they are being murdered. Think about it – if you were the feds – would you want someone trained to fight and simultaneously angry about having gone overseas to “fight for freedom” only to return home to find that freedom gone (and all the wars were based on lies)? You’d be f#@king mad as hell and ready to take back this country. Unlimited wealth buys a lot of access/power to carry out this agenda. I believe that that agenda cannot be carried out if savvy vets wise up and refuse to collaborate. If only all our vets would give up and come home. They aren’t supposed to be on foreign soil anyway; they’re supposed to protect our borders against invasion. And against all enemies foreign and domestic.

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