VA study: 22 vets commit suicide every day

There are a couple of ways of measuring the suicide rate in a group of people: one is suicides per day, the other is suicides in 100,000 per year.

The newest findings for US military veterans suicides is up from 18 per day to 22 per day in the last year or so, in the 34 states reporting.

Researchers found that the average age of a veteran who commits suicide is about 60. Analysts concluded that Vietnam and female veterans need particular focus.They also determined that a very intense period of risk for suicide is the first four weeks after someone leaves the military, and that this period requires strong monitoring and case management.

The analysis found that the actual number of estimated suicides per day among veterans has remained relatively stable, ranging from 20 per day in 2000 to 18 per day in 2007 and 22 per day in 2009 and 2010, the latest estimates available, according to a report on the study released Friday. The rate of suicide among veterans who use VA health care services has remained steady in recent years, at about 36 per 100,000

Of course, however bad it is that 22 commit suicide per day it doesn’t mean much until looked at against the background rate in non-veterans.  This is typically stated in the #/100,000/year form.  The latest findings, world wide, show the rate in the United States is at about 12.5/100,000  Presumably, that includes the veterans, so if their deaths were taken out, the non-veteran rate would be somewhat lower.

12.x vs 36 would put the veterans rate in the very terrible range.

Almost as terrible as the rate for all citizens in Korea or Lithuania

It is interesting that the rates being reported are higher among older, Vietnam vets.  No discussion of how that parses out to age on the one hand — and so we should expect a similar result as Iraq and Afghanistan vets age– or to the war itself.  Did the Vietnam war have a more ‘suicidal’ effect on those vets than might be expected for more recent vets.

Also interesting that the report says over half the deaths are by drug over dose or poisoning.  I wouldn’t have expected that.  What is the death by self-inflicted gun shot, or death by cop?

Don’t know.  Work is needed

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