Facts About Vets & Suicide
What’s the problem?
- 5000-6500 veterans complete suicide annually in the US (20% of all US suicides)
- The suicide rate for veterans is more than three times higher than for non-veterans
- The VA found the risk for suicide highest in younger male white veterans aged 18-44.
- Physically and emotionally disabled veterans are at high risk.
- More than 80% of the suicides among veterans involve firearms.
- Members of the National Guard and Reserve who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan
make up 53% of suicides among veterans since 2001
What are the key risk factors of suicide veterans?
- Combat trauma/PTSD • Hopelessness/depressive episodes
- Separation from the military (structure) • Drug & Alcohol use, misuse, abuse
- Access to firearms • Wounded/hospitalizations/ disability
- Fear of stigmatization for seeking help • Readjustment difficulties
What are some important protective factors for veterans?
|Camaraderie with other veterans
||Optimism, resilience, wellness
|Treatment for PTSD and depression
||Restrict access to guns/weapons
|Family, Community and Veteran support
||Good coping/stress mgt. skills
What are some of the early warning signs of suicide risk?
Contact a mental health or medical provider or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 to be
connected to a VA counselor if you encounter any of these behaviors:
|Hopelessness/helpless/ no way out
||Rage, anger, revenge, reckless behavior
|Feeling alienated and socially isolated
||Increasing alcohol and/or drug use
|Withdrawal from family, friends
||Anxiety, agitation, sleep problems
|Dramatic mood changes
||Citing no reason for living
What are the immediate danger signs of high suicide risk?
Immediately call 9-1-1 or 610-279-6100 if you encounter someone:
- Threatening to hurt or kill himself or herself
- Looking for ways to take her or his life (i.e., getting a gun, stockpiling pills, other means)
- Talking, writing, or drawing about death, dying, or suicide
What can you do to help reduce suicide in a veteran?
- Call the nearest VA Medical Center or Vet Center for help with depression and PTSD
- All family members know the warning and danger signs of suicide and what to do.
- Remove unused firearms and safely store/lock/disassemble all firearms kept in the home.
If you or someone you know is thinking
about suicide, please call (610)279-6100