Veteran Suicides – Good News?

The Department of Veteran Affairs recently issued a report say-ing that on average, 20 Veterans a day took their own lives. This number is down slightly from the previously used number of 22. Officials however are wary of saying the problem of Veteran sui-cide is getting better.
It seems that using a better method of collecting and ana-lyzing the data is giving a clearer picture of the problem. The do not want to make com-parisons to past studies and point out that 20 is not a good number even though it is slightly lower than the old esti-mates.
“Twenty a day is not that dif-ferent from 22,” said Dr. David Shulkin, undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs . “It is far too high.”
The rate at which Veterans commit suicide is many times higher than among the non-veteran population. The suicide rates for both Veterans and no-veterans continue to grow but the rates are grow-ing faster among the Veterans. This is especially true among the female Veterans.
The attention on veteran suicide comes at a time when the VA has reported a huge upswing in Veterans seeking medical care as they have returned from the current conflicts However, the VA data continues to show that older Veterans make up most suicides. About two-thirds of all veterans who died by suicide were age 50 and over.
We need to get these numbers down. If you are feeling pressures you can’t handle, reach out. If you are worried about someone else, reach out. One Veteran suicide a day is too many.
It takes the courage and strength of a warrior to ask for help…

If you are a Veteran who is in crisis or know a Veteran who is in crisis call the Veterans Crisis Line
1-800-273-TALK (8255) and Press 1 for Veterans
If you are not in crisis but need some support the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Vet 2 Vet Program of Putnam County is just a phone call away. This is a peer support group of Veterans helping Veterans. Call them at 845-278-VETS (8387).
(If you would like one of the pins pictured above stop by our office. We have a limited supply available.)

safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.
Since its development in 2006, safeTALK has been used in over 20 countries around the world, and more than 200 selectable video vignettes have been produced to tailor the program’s audio-visual component for diverse audienc-es. safeTALK-trained helpers are an important part of suicide-safer communi-ties, working alongside intervention resources to identify and avert suicide risks.

Training features:

  • Presentations and guidance from a LivingWorks registered trainer
  • Access to support from a local community resource person
  • Powerful audiovisual learning aids
  • The simple yet effective TALK steps: Tell, Ask, Listen, and KeepSafe
  • Hands-on skills practice and development

Art, Brennan and Karl are all safeTalk Trainers.
(We encourage you or you organization to contact us to set up a training. We have trained people in the American Legion in Patterson, Arms Acers and at the Putnam Hospital under the auspices of the Putnam County Suicide Task Force. Please set up a training, there is no cost.)