The recent Veterans Administration (VA) report on Veteran suicide has once again brought to the forefront the urgent need to address the mental health crisis affecting our nation’s military personnel. According to the report, 2019 saw a total of 6,435 Veteran suicides, an average of 17.6 deaths per day. This is a slight decrease from the previous year’s number of 6,507, but it is still a sobering reminder of the ongoing struggle that many Veterans face.
Looking deeper into the data, we can see that there are some significant differences in suicide rates among the states. In 2019, the states with the highest Veteran suicide rates were Montana, Utah, and New Mexico, with rates of 54.5, 46.6, and 43.5 deaths per 100,000 Veterans, respectively. These numbers are much higher than the national average of 27.5 deaths per 100,000 Veterans.
On the other hand, some states had much lower suicide rates. In 2019, the states with the lowest rates were Delaware, Vermont, and Rhode Island, with rates of 14.8, 16.6, and 17.2 deaths per 100,000 Veterans, respectively. These numbers are less than half of the national average.
It’s worth noting that the states with the highest suicide rates also tend to have higher rates of gun ownership, which has been identified as a risk factor for suicide. Additionally, these states tend to have higher rates of rural and remote living, which can make it harder for Veterans to access mental health services.
Despite these challenges, there are programs and resources available to help Veterans struggling with mental health issues. The VA offers a range of services, including counseling, therapy, and medication management. In addition, there are numerous non-profit organizations that provide support and resources to Veterans and their families.
It’s essential that we continue to raise awareness of this issue and work to improve access to mental health services for all Veterans, regardless of where they live. By addressing the root causes of Veteran suicide, we can help ensure that those who have served our country receive the care and support they need to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.