The purpose of VA’s National Suicide Prevention report is to COUNT every Veteran suicide so we can PREVENT every Veteran suicide. Preventing Veteran suicide and saving lives is our top clinical priority at VA, and we take every step possible to make sure that our Veteran suicide data is accurate—because the first step to SOLVING this problem is UNDERSTANDING it. Our methodology for creating this report is well-established and consistent, based on verified data from the CDC and DoD, and meets the quality and standards of a peer-reviewed publication. In the interest of full transparency, we release these yearly reports detailing how we come to the conclusions in the Annual Report.
Here are some major conclusions from this year’s report:
In 2019 and 2020, Veteran suicides decreased in consecutive years by 307 and 343 deaths — the biggest decrease in the suicide count and rate since 2001.
From 2018 to 2020, the age- and sex-adjusted suicide rate among Veterans fell by 9.7%
Among women Veterans, the age-adjusted suicide rate fell by 14.1%, compared to 8.4% among non-Veteran women. The age-adjusted suicide rate for women Veterans in 2020 was the lowest since 2013, and the age-adjusted suicide rate for Veteran men was the lowest since 2016.
From 2019 to 2020, Veteran suicide rates fell across all racial groups.
Comparisons of trends in Veteran suicide and COVID-19 mortality over the course of 2020 and across Veteran demographic and clinical subgroups did not indicate an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Veteran suicide mortality.
Suicide is preventable. It is one of the most serious public health issues facing our Veterans today and we cannot do this work alone—everyone has a role to play. We are seeking to engage not only organizations traditionally focused on preventing suicide but also to bring in new groups and individuals who may have fresh ideas on how we address this issue.
As a part of our comprehensive efforts to end Veteran suicide, we have also announced the grantees for the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program, a first-of-its-kind program that provides VA funding for local suicide prevention programs. We have also announced the finalists for Mission Daybreak, a suicide prevention grand challenge.
Preventing Veteran suicide is our top clinical priority. You are all part of this effort. You don’t need special training and you don’t have to be an expert to help the Veterans you care about.
Click here for more information.
Click here for the full report.