Suicide rates high among older vets

Published Feb 8, 2013 at 04:00AM

Older veterans are twice if not three or four times more likely to commit suicide than non-veterans in their age group, according to a study the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs released Feb. 1. The study analyzed circumstances surrounding 147,763 suicide deaths that had been reported in 21 states and found 18.3 percent of the reported suicide victims had a history of U.S. military service. More than 69 percent of all veteran suicides were among those age 50 or older, compared to 378 percent among non-veterans, according to the study. By age group, the study found:

* People between age 50 and 59 accounted for 18.2 percent of non-veteran suicides and 20 percent of veteran suicides;

* People between age 60 and 69 accounted for 8.1 percent of non-veteran suicides and 16.5 percent of veteran suicides;

* People between age 70 and 79 accounted for 4.6 percent of non-veteran suicides and 18.6 percent of veteran suicides; and,

* People who were 80 or older accounted for 3.7 percent of non-veteran suicides and 14.2 percent of veteran suicides.

In light of these facts, and a recent finding that 22 veterans killed themselves each day during 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs is asking people to visit its Veteran’s Crisis Line website, www.Veterans CrisisLine.net, call 800-273-8255 (push 1), or text 838255 if they need help.

— From staff reports

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