VA Issues Its Most Comprehensive Suicide Report

The Veterans Affairs Department issued its most comprehensive report ever on the scope of veteran suicides across the United States, according to a release. “The mental health and well-being of our courageous men and women who have served the nation is the highest priority for VA, and even one suicide is one too many,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. For the first time ever, this report provides data on veterans treated outside of the VA’s health system as well as those treated within it, states the Feb. 1 release. The report shows that the percentage of veteran suicide deaths has fallen slightly since 1999, although the total number of suicides has increased slightly. “We have more work to do and we will use this data to continue to strengthen our suicide-prevention efforts and ensure all veterans receive the care they have earned and deserve,” said Shinseki. Suicide prevention has been a top priority for Air Force leadership for years, although Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has acknowledged that making progress in stemming suicides has been difficult. (See also Obama Administration Strengthens Suicide-Prevention Activities.)