Washington, DC (PRWEB) February 10, 2014
The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (http://www.dvnf.org), a nonprofit veterans service organization that focuses on helping men and women who serve and return home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom, is strongly urging that more attention be paid to initiatives that reach out to young veterans who may be at risk of suicide.
A recent report on the suicide rate from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) revealed that from 2009-2011, the overall rate of veteran suicides among VHA users has essentially remained the same, while the younger demographics of veteran suicides are spiking at an alarming rate. Link to study here.
Among veterans under the age of 30, the suicide rate has increased, especially among veterans 18-25 years of age. In addition, female veteran suicides under age 30 have also increased.
The difference between 2009 and 2010 in suicide rates among young male veterans age 18-24 was most drastic. Suicides in the demographic increased from 46.1 per 100,000 in 2009 to an alarming 72.6 per 100,000 in 2010. That trend continued to increase in 2011, with 79.1 suicides per 100,000.
Though these numbers are alarming, the report also revealed that VHA efforts to address suicide among veterans have shown more positive results. Male VHA users over age 30 have seen a decrease in suicides, as well as a decrease among VHA users with mental health conditions.
“Suicide among our youngest veterans is truly a national crisis,” said DVNF CEO and former USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment Sergeant Major, Joseph VanFonda. “The VHA has made strides in their efforts to combat this phenomenon, but we need to make sure that we do more to reach out to young veterans to let them know that there are many resources available to them when they are in need.”
DVNF is urging more awareness and outreach to these veterans, especially with so many troops returning from Afghanistan. The organization urges any veteran with thoughts of suicide to seek treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or to call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.