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22 Veterans and countless First Responders decide to take their own lives each day ! Most of these are caused by feelings of hopelessness and loneliness, due to traumatic experiences which haunt them. Some do not know where to turn for help and unfortunately turn to alcohol and drugs which only makes matters worse. Help us bring our brothers and sisters together to refind the camaraderie they long for to help battle these issues.
Comprehensive prevention goes beyond a focus on mental health concerns
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Suicide rates rose across the US from 1999 to 2016.
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Suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise.
Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor. Although suicide prevention efforts largely focus on identifying and providing treatment for people with mental health conditions, there are many additional opportunities for prevention.
“Suicide is a leading cause of death for Americans – and it’s a tragedy for families and communities across the country,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “From individuals and communities to employers and healthcare professionals, everyone can play a role in efforts to help save lives and reverse this troubling rise in suicide.”
Many factors contribute to suicide
For this Vital Signs report, CDC researchers examined state-level trends in suicide rates from 1999-2016. In addition, they used 2015 data from CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System, which covered 27 states, to look at the circumstances of suicide among people with and without known mental health conditions.
Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Relationship problems or loss, substance misuse; physical health problems; and job, money, legal or housing stress often contributed to risk for suicide. Firearms were the most common method of suicide used by those with and without a known diagnosed mental health condition.
State suicide rates vary widely
The most recent overall suicide rates (2014-2016) varied four-fold; from 6.9 per 100,000 residents per year in Washington, D.C. to 29.2 per 100,000 residents in Montana.
Across the study period, rates increased in nearly all states. Percentage increases in suicide rates ranged from just under 6 percent in Delaware to over 57 percent in North Dakota. Twenty-five states had suicide rate increases of more than 30 percent.
Wide range of prevention activities needed
The report recommends that states take a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention and address the range of factors contributing to suicide. This requires coordination and cooperation from every sector of society: government, public health, healthcare, employers, education, media and community organizations.
To help states with this important work, in 2017 CDC released a technical packageCdc-pdf on suicide prevention that describes strategies and approaches based on the best available evidence. This can help inform states and communities as they make decisions about prevention activities and priorities.
Everyone can help prevent suicide:
The media can avoid increasing risk when reporting on suicide by:
Vital Signs is a CDC report that typically appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators, and what can be done to drive down these health threats.
WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released findings from its most recent analysis of Veteran suicide data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
This report yields several important insights:
The report, known as “VA National Suicide Data Report 2005–2015,” is available at https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/Suicide-Prevention-Data.asp.
The analysis is part of VA’s ongoing examination of more than 55 million civilian and Veteran death records that is being used to evaluate and improve VA’s Suicide Prevention Program.
Data from this report were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Death Index and then linked to both VA and Department of Defense (DoD) data.
VA is committed to publishing the most accurate suicide data possible. CDC has 2016 data, but VA works with both CDC and DoD to analyze millions of records and data sources to produce an analysis of suicide deaths for all known Veterans. This collaboration adds a layer of complexity to the analysis process thus making 2015 the most current year for which VA is able to publish complete Veteran suicide data.
VA is working with CDC and DoD to innovate and refine the data analysis and plans to publish 2016 Veteran suicide data in fall 2018.
The report includes suicide rates from 2005 to 2015 for both Veteran and non-Veteran populations segmented by age, race and gender, and analyzes Veteran rates based on service branch and era, suicide method and suicide risk factors. These data inform the ongoing work of VA and its partners to prevent suicide and expand the network of support for Veterans.
“Suicide remains a top clinical priority,” said Acting VA Secretary Mr. Peter O’Rourke. “One life lost to suicide is one too many. Suicide is a serious public health concern in the Veteran population and across all communities nationwide. These data offer important insights to help VA to build effective networks of support, communication and care that reach Veterans where they live and thrive.”
Suicide is a complex issue and is influenced by a multitude of intersecting factors that can increase or decrease suicide risk. The VA Suicide Prevention Program’s public health approach addresses the risk factors associated with suicidal behavior — such as a prior suicide attempt, stressful life events or the availability of lethal means — while promoting the protective factors that can offset risk — such as positive coping skills, feeling connected to other people and access to mental health care.
Data form an integral part of VA’s public health strategy and enable VA to tailor research-backed suicide-prevention initiatives to reach diverse groups across the Veteran population.
In the years since these data were captured, VA has undertaken substantial suicide-prevention efforts, including:
Learn more about VA’s suicide-prevention resources and programs at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/.
Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, should call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at 800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or send a text message to 838255.
Reporters covering this issue are strongly encouraged to visit www.ReportingOnSuicide.org for important guidance on how to communicate about suicide.
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