US reports spike in suicides among youngest vets

by Kevin Freking

There has been a sharp increase in the suicide rate among the youngest U.S. 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.

Dr. Jan Kemp, who oversees suicide prevention efforts at the VA, said she expected to see an increase among the youngest veterans based on rising in the military, but called the numbers alarming, particularly for those in their early 20s. She said too many younger veterans are going to the VA to get care for their physical wounds, but many don't seek treatment for longer-term mental health issues as well.

"They really haven't even been out long enough to maybe recognize they're having longer-term issues with PTSD or with depression," she said, referring to . "I think they're still kind of in that invincible period. There's somewhat of a culture out there within the military and within these young kids that they don't need help and they should have all of the answers."

Treatment works, she said, and it's important for veterans to seek care.

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 increased more than 11 percent.

The VA's latest analysis reflects data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2010 and 2011. Suicide rates among veterans are higher than non- for both men and women.

3.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lawmaker looks outside VA to fill mental care gap

Jan 29, 2013

(AP)—The head of the House panel that oversees veterans' issues says patients who have trouble getting timely mental health care from Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics should have another option: access to the thousands ...

Agreement boosts access for American Indian vets

Dec 06, 2012

(AP)—Native American military veterans will be able to access health care closer to home thanks to an agreement between the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

Recommended for you

Suicide risk falls substantially after talk therapy

2 hours ago

Repeat suicide attempts and deaths by suicide were roughly 25 percent lower among a group of Danish people who underwent voluntary short-term psychosocial counseling after a suicide attempt, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Nov 21, 2014

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

Nov 21, 2014

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.