Veterans suicides have become one of the main concerns for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent years as the veteran population continues to grow. A comprehensive report on the state of suicide rates for veterans was recently released and included new data from state departments, filling a gap in information.
Previous reports from the VA only included suicides reported from veterans who had sought health care through the VA. The latest report includes data from states on suicides by veterans who did not seek treatment in the VA health care system.
Veteran Suicides are Still a Major Concern Despite Lower Percentage
The VA report shows that the percentage of veterans who die by suicide has decreased slightly since 1999, but the total estimated number of suicides has increased among veterans.
Following the August 31, 2012 executive order from President Barak Obama, the VA has expanded the staff of the Veterans Crisis Line by 50 percent, allowing the organization to expand its effort to provide support for veterans in crisis. To date, the system has helped 26,000 veterans who were actively suicidal.
Other initiatives include the hiring of more mental health staff at VA hospitals and clinics across the U.S. and a request for suicide data for veterans to be collected and reviewed by individual states.
Support for Veterans Mental Health is Available
Mental health disabilities such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are common in veterans and are one possible factor that may lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Physical injuries may also lead to an increased risk of suicide, especially when a combat-related injury results in permanent disability.
Veterans who suffer from mental or physical disabilities related to their military service have the right to seek veterans’ disability benefits through the VA by filling out the application and providing evidence to support their claim.
The South Florida veterans’ disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group can help with your veterans’ disability application. Contact us to get started – 1-855-855-8992.