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Veteran suicides fell by 7% to 6,200 in 2019 – the lowest level in 12 years

Veteran suicides fell by 7% to 6,200 in 2019 – the lowest level in 12 years – but officials fear rates could spike again following COVID-19 pandemic

  • A new report from Veterans Affairs finds that veteran suicides fell by 7% from 6,662 in 2018 to 6,261 in 2019
  • This is the lowest level in 12 years, marking the first time since 2007 that the number has fallen below 6,400
  • Suicide rate for female veterans dropped 12.8% in 2019 and the rate for male veterans dropped 3.6% 
  • Among veterans, the rate in 2019 was 52.3% higher than for nonveteran adults. a drop from the record-high difference of 66.3% in 2017


The number of suicides among American veterans fell to the lowest level in more than a decade, a new report finds.

According to data released by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) this week, suicides fell by seven percent from 6,662 in 2018 to 6,261 in 2019.

It marks the first time since 2007 that the number of veteran suicides has fallen below 6,400.

However, officials say they are worried that rates could spike again in the next few years following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A new report from Veterans Affairs finds that veteran suicides fell by 7% from 6,662 in 2018 to 6,261 in 2019 (file image)

This is the lowest level in 12 years, marking the first time since 2007 that the number has fallen below 6,400

This is the lowest level in 12 years, marking the first time since 2007 that the number has fallen below 6,400

The report found that the suicide rate for both males and females decreased between 2018 and 2019.

The suicide rate for female veterans dropped 12.8 percent in 2019 and the rate for male veterans dropped 3.6 percent. 

Of American veterans who did commit suicide in 2019, the rate was highest among those between ages 18 and 34 with a rate of 44.4 per 100,000.    

The 6,261 suicides meant that, in 2019, there was an average of 17.2 veteran suicides per day.

Veterans were 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide if they had not visited a center affiliated with the Veterans Health Administration

There were about 6.8 suicides per day among those with VHA encounters in 2018 or 2019 compared to 10.4 per day among veterans with no VHA encounter.

After adjusting for sex and age factors, the VA found the suicide rate among veterans in 2019 was 52.3 percent higher than for nonveteran adults.

This is a dramatic drop from the record-high difference of 66.3 percent in 2017.. 

‘This drop is noteworthy when compared to the generally rising rates observed in earlier years,’ the VA wrote

‘Although VA is heartened that 399 fewer Veterans died by suicide in 2019 compared to 2018, VA is poignantly and painfully mindful that 6,261 Veterans died by suicide in 2019.’ 

Suicide rate for female veterans (light blue line) dropped 12.8% in 2019 and the rate for male veterans (dark blue line) dropped 3.6%

Suicide rate for female veterans (light blue line) dropped 12.8% in 2019 and the rate for male veterans (dark blue line) dropped 3.6%

Among veterans, the rate in 2019 was 52.3% higher than for nonveteran adults. a dropfrom the record-high difference of 66.3% in 2017

Among veterans, the rate in 2019 was 52.3% higher than for nonveteran adults. a dropfrom the record-high difference of 66.3% in 2017

Firearms were reported to be the most use method in veteran suicides at 69.2 in 2019, a 2.7 percent increase from 2018, according to the VA. 

Suffocation was the next most common method, followed by poisoning. 

The VA wrote in the report that it did not see in suicidal tendencies or behavior among veterans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, officials fear there will ne a ‘negative rebound effect’ and the rate among veterans will drive up in the next few years.

  • For confidential help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here
  • For confidential support on suicide matters in the UK, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here  
  • For confidential support in Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or click here

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk