Suicide is a public health problem that has not only affected veterans but also many non-veterans throughout the United States. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently revealed a plan to help prevent and stop veteran suicide. The initiative, titled the “National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide,” will provide assistance and guidance for our nation’s veterans through 2028.
The National Suicide Data Report from 2005-2015, which was released by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, revealed that the suicide rate in the span of those ten years has increased each consecutive year. According to the report, “in 2015, an average of 20.6 active-duty Service members, non-activated Guardsmen or Reservists, and other Veterans died by suicide each day.” The VA is predicting that, with the aid of its new program, the number of veteran deaths by suicide will decrease over time.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, suicide prevention is their top priority. They have listed a series of protective factors that should be used to assist those suffering from symptoms of suicidal behavior, which are:
- Having positive coping skills;
- Having a reason for living or a sense of purpose in life;
- Feeling connected to other people; and
- Having access to mental health care, among others.
The procedure on how to help a veteran with suicidal behavior mirrors the approach used by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is as follows:
- Define the problem;
- Identify risk and protective factors;
- Develop and test prevention strategies; and
- Assure widespread adoption.
To provide a more personalized approach to help veterans, the VA plans to match each veteran with their respective level of risk category. The categories range from universal strategies that aim to reach all veterans in the United States, selective strategies that are intended for some veterans, and indicated strategies that are designed for a few individual veterans.
Suicide and suicidal thoughts cause an immense deal of immeasurable pain to veterans and their families. If you or a loved one are a veteran and are facing suicide or suicidal thoughts, it is imperative to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-8255. Once the call is placed, you can also contact an experienced New York veterans’ disability attorney to discuss your rights as a veteran, including eligibility for veterans’ disability benefits.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP concentrate their practice in veterans’ disability law and can help you access disability benefits, including medical treatment, for service-related disabilities and illnesses. With over 50 years of combined experience between its lawyers, our attorneys may be able to assist you or a loved one in obtaining veterans disability benefits. Call our office at (800) 395 -7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office.