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Wounded Times

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Friday, January 10, 2014

VA reports 44% more younger veterans committing suicide

This was not a great thing to wake up to but evidently the VA has not woken up yet.
VA Reports Spike in Suicides Among Youngest Vets
Associated Press
By KEVIN FREKING
WASHINGTON (AP)
January 10, 2014
The department said the suicide rate increased nearly 44 percent for male veterans between the ages of 18-29 from 2009 to 2011. During the same period, the rate among female veterans increased more than 11 percent.

There has been a sharp increase in the suicide rate among the youngest male veterans, and a smaller but still significant jump among women who served in the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday.

However, the VA found "no clear change" in the overall suicide rate among all veterans using VA health facilities.
read more here

This was the news back in 2008.
Now, CBS News has obtained never-before seen patient data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, detailing the growing number of suicide attempts among vets recently treated by the VA.

The data reveals a marked overall increase - from 462 attempts in 2000 to 790 in 2007.

"This is highly statistically significant," said Dr. Bruce Levin, head of the biostatistics department at Columbia University. Levin is one of three experts who analyzed the data for CBS News.

"I'd characterize it as something that deserves further attention," Levin said. "Overall the data suggests about a 44 percent increase and that is not due to chance."

According to the experts, two age groups stood out between 2000 and 2007. First, ages 20-24 - those likely to have served during the Iraq-Afghan wars. Suicide attempts rose from 11 to 47.

And for vets ages 55 to 59, suicide attempts jumped from 19 to 117.

In both age groups, the attempted suicides grew at a rate much faster than the VA patient population as a whole.

In addition, this VA study, also obtained exclusively by CBS News, reveals the increasing number of veterans who recently received VA services ... and still succeeded in committing suicide: rising from 1,403 suicides in 2001 to 1,784 in 2005 - figures the VA has never made public.
Why is this still happening? Because Battlemind didn't work in 2008 but they continued to use it. There was a huge difference between what the Army said and what soldiers were hearing. The Army said this,
"Battlemind is the Soldier's inner strength to face fear and adversity with courage. Key components include:
Self confidence: taking calculated risks and handling challenges.
Mental toughness: overcoming obstacles or setbacks and maintaining positive thoughts during times of adversity and challenge.

The soldiers heard this training was supposed to do all of the above so if they were hurting, suffering from PTSD, then they were mentally weak. After all, Battlemind was supposed to make them "mentally strong" so it must be their fault. The soldiers coming home pointed to this training as preventing them from seeking help.

When the Senate Armed Services Committee heard this testimony "Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff for the Army, called the suicide figures for his service "unacceptable" and fixing them "the most difficult and critical mission" of his military career. "The reality is, there is no simple solution," he said. "It is going to require a multi-disciplinary approach, and a team effort at every level of command."

This is what the numbers were; "140 confirmed suicides last year and another seven probable suicides still under investigation. That’s up from 115 in 2007, and 101 in 2006" but while he said that in 2008 the results were different in 2009 when by March they had 56 suicides in the Army.

The July Department of Defense Suicide Data release for the Army reported there were 88 Army Suicides, 16 confirmed and 23 "potential" among "reserve components."

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness does just as much damage and the results prove that. Now when the Department of Defense talks about lower suicides they fail to comprehend that they have increased veterans while decreasing their ranks. In other words, the DOD doesn't have to account for the number of veterans committing suicide anymore.

Whenever we look at what the VA reports show, we need to look back at where the veterans came from. The military!

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