Alarming Suicide Rate Among Veterans

CBS News, via ThinkProgress:

CBS News conducted a months long investigation into the suicide rate of veterans, and found truly staggering numbers.

CBS News’ investigative unit wanted the numbers, so it submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense asking for the numbers of suicides among all service members for the past 12 years.

Four months later, they sent CBS News a document, showing that between 1995 and 2007, there were almost 2,200 suicides. That’s 188 last year alone. But these numbers included only “active duty” soldiers.

But those numbers weren’t nearly accurate…

So CBS News did an investigation – asking all 50 states for their suicide data, based on death records, for veterans and non-veterans, dating back to 1995. Forty-five states sent what turned out to be a mountain of information.

And what it revealed was stunning.

In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That’s 120 each and every week, in just one year.

Got that? In 2005 alone, in 45 states, 6,256 suicides of veterans — 120 per week. The highest suicide rate is among veterans between the ages of 20 and 24.

Dr Ira Katz, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, prior to this investigation had said that suicide was a major problem among veterans, but there was no epidemic. After the investigation Katz said, “Suicide in America is an epidemic, and that includes veterans.”

Thanks for acknowledging it, Dr. Katz.

Read the read of the story here.