Health & Safety

February 7, 2013

VA issues new report on suicide data

Written by: Staff
More articles by »

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Veterans Affairs Department today released a comprehensive report on veterans who die by suicide.

In the past, data on veterans who died by suicide was only available for those who had sought VA health care services. Today’s report also includes state data for veterans who had not received health care services from VA. Department officials say the additional information will help VA strengthen its aggressive suicide prevention activities.

The report indicates that the percentage of veterans who die by suicide has fallen slightly since 1999, while the estimated total number of veterans who have died by suicide has increased.

“The mental health and well-being of our courageous men and women who have served the nation is the highest priority for VA, and even one suicide is one too many,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said. “We have more work to do and we will use this data to continue to strengthen our suicide prevention efforts and ensure all veterans receive the care they have earned and deserve.”

According to VA officials, the department has hired and trained additional staff to increase the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line by 50 percent, in accordance with President Barack Obama’s Aug. 31, 2012, executive order. The Veteran Crisis Line has made approximately 26,000 rescues of actively suicidal veterans to date, according to officials.

VA also has initiated a yearlong public awareness campaign, “Stand By Them,” to educate families and friends on how to seek help for veterans and service members in crisis. Additionally, VA has launched a national public service announcement, “Side by Side.”

VA officials said the department has an aggressive hiring campaign to expand access to mental health services with 1,600 new clinical staff and 300 new administrative staff. VA also is hiring and training 800 peer-to-peer specialists who will work as members of mental health teams, officials said.

The report issued today is the most comprehensive study of veteran suicide rates ever undertaken by the department, officials noted. On June 16, 2010, Shinseki engaged the governors of all 50 states, asking their support in collecting suicide statistics.

Now, with assistance from state partners providing real-time data, VA can better identify where veterans at risk may be located, and can improve the department’s ability to target outreach activities to reach veterans early and proactively, officials said.

The data will also help VA monitor the effectiveness of suicide prevention programs in specific geographic locations or care settings, officials said, so the department can replicate them in other areas if they have been effective.

VA officials said the department has implemented comprehensive suicide prevention initiatives, including a toll-free Veterans Crisis Line, placement of suicide prevention coordinators at all VA medical centers and large outpatient facilities, and improvements in case management and reporting.

Immediate help is available at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.

The full report can be found on VA’s website along with a summary response from VA undersecretary for health, Dr. Robert A. Petzel.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

The new fight: Writing cyber into the science of war

Every year, the Aspen Security Forum brings together the top minds in defense, intelligence and homeland security. This year, more than ever, the conversation is turning to cybersecurity – protecting computer networks and everything attached to them. Cyber is constantly changing the way conflicts and combat unfold. Here, former U.S. Navy Rear Adm. William Leigher offers insights...
 
 

TRICARE now provides breast pumps, lactation counseling

Mothers that choose to breast feed their infants might be surprised to learn that TRICARE updated its coverage to include breast pumps and supplies as of July 1. TRICARE can aid expecting Desert Lightning Team mothers through the process to obtain a breast pump and supplies. There are multiple methods to receive a pump or...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Samuel Morse)

Airmen to keep focus on safety at home

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — Airmen are constantly trained to be safe in everything while at work, but how safe are we when we arrive home? According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 93,200 unintentional i...
 

 

Mental health: To go or not to go

  CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada (AFNS) — (This feature is part of the “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.) The clinic buildings themselves aren’t scary, but add the words ‘mental health,’ and most people will avoid them like they contain tigers on the loose. That’s...
 
 

PT exemptions for new AF mothers to increase

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The six-month deferment for female Airmen to accomplish their fitness assessments following childbirth will be increased to 12 months to align with recent changes to the deployment deferments, Air Force officials announced July 14. The deployment deferment policy, as part of the Air Force’s 2015 Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, increases the deferment...
 
 

Keeping Airmen healthy and informed through Operation Supplement Safety

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — For peak performance, Airmen should eat healthy and exercise regularly. But in the quest to gain an “edge,” many Airmen resort to dietary supplements. Enter Operation Supplement Safety, or OPSS. This Defense Department educational campaign, accessible at www.hprc-online.org/opss, educates the warfighter and healthcare provider on responsible dietary supplement us...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>