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.


 
 

 

Defeating “Monster Mouth”

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski) Airman Jessika Silva-Gomez, 355th Dental Squadron dental assistant, helps a child sort out foods that are beneficial to dental hygiene during a presentation at the Finley Child Development Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Feb. 24. Personnel from the 355th DS provided examples of proper...
 
 

Experts: Males also are victims of sexual assault

TYSON’S CORNER, Va.– Experts urged Army leaders to reach out to male victims of sexual assault, noting people should not view sexual violence as a crime perpetrated exclusively against women. Jim Hopper, a psychologist and researcher, and Russell Strand, a retired Criminal Investigative Service special agent, spoke about an aspect of sexual violence not often...
 
 

Avoid online dangers, unfriendly users on social media

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The internet instantaneously allows you to reach out across the internet superhighway to share information or connect with loved ones.  Despite how innocuous this may seem, without taking the proper precautions, your personal information can inadvertently fall into the wrong hands. “You have to assume that everyone is looking at it,” said...
 

 

Brush, floss, repeat daily for good dental health

Each February, the American Dental Association, or ADA, sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Regular dental visits should happen every...
 
 

Sexual assault rates decrease at military service academies

WASHINGTON – Rates of unwanted sexual contact at the military service academies declined in 2014, according to a report released today by the Defense Department. The annual report on sexual harassment and violence at the military service academies estimates that overall rates decreased for both men and women, indicating that nearly 200 fewer sexual assaults...
 
 

Prescription tracker gives vets online access to status

Veterans can now track the status of most of their prescriptions online, thanks to an innovative idea by a Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) employee. The new 24/7 service allows online tracking for most prescriptions mailed from the VA Mail Order Pharmacy. The Prescription Tracker was recommended by VA employee Kenneth Siehr, a winner of...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin