Suicide is complicated. Experiences prior to, during, and following military service, coupled with stigma associated with help-seeking behavior, have resulted in elevated suicide rates among Veterans. Many experience physical and emotional wounds in silence.
Suicide is a tragic and preventable outcome. It affects not only our Veterans, but also their families, friends, and communities across the nation.
There is no “one single reason” why an individual dies from suicide. So, too, there is no “single solution” for suicide prevention.
The public is keenly aware of some key risk factors for suicide among Veterans. Examples are depression, chronic pain, firearm access, or social isolation. But it is also often unaware of the devastating relationship between substance use and suicide.
The 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report showed that Veterans Health Administration (VHA) users diagnosed with substance use disorders (SUD) had higher rates of suicide than those with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rates were amongst the highest for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). These statistics must motivate action. Addressing a Veteran’s SUD, especially OUD, is critical for suicide prevention efforts.
Read more at Blogs.VA.gov.