More Veterans Died by Suicide in Last Decade Than in Vietnam War
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) April 16, 2020 – Suicide is an epidemic among U.S. veterans and the number of servicemen and women who take their own lives rises year after year. More veterans have died by their own hand in the last ten years than in the entirety of the Vietnam War.
From 1955 to 1975 58,000 soldiers were killed in Vietnam while fighting in the war. In the ten years between 2008 and 2018 more than 60,000 veterans have died by suicide. In the same time period, the total number of suicides declined 18 percent.
“Mental healthcare is just as important for our veterans as physical healthcare,” said James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan. “Not only is there a lack of comprehensive mental health services available to vets, many men and women are unsure of when or how to seek care when there is a problem. If it were as normal and accepted to seek professional medical care when experiencing mental and emotional issues as for physical ones, we would see suicide rates decline. It is time to change the culture surrounding veteran mental health”
According to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a firearm is used in more than half of veteran suicides. Women used a firearm 43.2 percent of the time and men did 70.7 percent of the time. Suicides among National Guard and Reserve members in particular rose significantly. These veterans are not eligible for VA benefits and health services because they were never activated.
The report also found that nearly 70 percent of the veterans who died by suicide had not received care at a VA healthcare facility before their deaths. Even more frustrating, the Government Accountability Office reported in December 2018 that five million dollars of the VA’s suicide prevention outreach budget was not used. 2019 was the first year that the number of billboards, social media ads and other forms of public service announcement about suicide prevention increased, after decreasing in years prior.
“Whether VA mental health initiatives are effective for those who benefit from them is unclear, but surely more needs to be done,” continued Fausone.
Legal Help for Veterans is a veteran owned and operated law firm in Northville, Michigan that specializes in VA disability cases. Contact James G. Fausone at https://www.legalhelpforveterans.com/.Learn more at http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC 41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101 Northville, MI 48168 Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800