RadioMD: Staying Well

Why Are So Many Veterans Taking Their Life?

April 13, 20159 min
During the time of a recent study published in The Annals of Epidemiology, there was at least one veteran who committed suicide each day.Putting your own life at risk for the freedom and protection of millions of other lives is one of the most selfless and courageous gestures a person could make.However, it seems like everyday there's an article featuring yet another veteran who has taken their life after returning home from overseas. Does this mean there's a flaw within America's healthcare system and how returning soldiers are being taken care of?Veteran's suicide has been one of the most controversial topics that doctors, researchers and families of veterans have been discussing for many years.In fact, a recent study published in the February issue of the Annals of Epidemiology highlighted this issue of the thousands of soldier's lives that have been taken due to suicide. The study looked at all 1,282,074 veterans who served in active-duty units between 2001-2007 and who also left the military during that time period. Researchers matched military records with the National Death Index, who collects data on all the deaths that occur within the U.S. Researchers tracked the veterans after service until the end of 2009.Researchers found a total of 1,868 suicides, which compares to an annual suicide rate of 29.5 per 100,000 veterans (approximately 50 percent higher). During the time of a recent study published in The Annals of Epidemiology, there was at least one veteran who committed suicide each day.This past February, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which is aimed to reduce the amount of suicides among returning veterans and help improve their access to mental health care.Is it possible to reduce military suicides?If you or a loved one might be struggling with thoughts of suicide, please don't hesitate to reach out for help to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1.800.273.8255. You are not alone.Michael Schoenbaum, PhD shares a compelling study on the lives of veterans returning home from serving, and why so many of them might be turning to suicide.

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