Congressional Testimony: Veteran Suicide
If you have a few minutes you will find Dr. Craig J. Bryan’s testimony to the Senate Committee of Veterans’ Affairs of interest.
Dr. Bryan’s testimony, “Of greatest relevance to the current hearing, from 2001 to 2014 the suicide rate among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 39% from 2001 to 2014, whereas the suicide rate among VA users increased by only 9%.” But most relevant is this quote: “…only 30% of all Veterans who died by suicide were VA users, which means the considerable majority of suicides are occurring among Veterans external to the VA.”Click here to Read More
Dr. Byran acknowledges that suicide prevention efforts must extend to the 70% of veterans beyond the VA.
At the same hearing on September 27, 2017, John D. Daigh, Jr., M.D., Cpa Assistant Inspector General for Healthcare Inspections Office of Inspector General Department of Veterans’ Affairs concluded “Strategies that envision extending VHA’s efforts to prevent suicide to those veterans who do not receive care through VHA, that move beyond the prediction of who is at risk to an actionable timeframe when a veteran maybe at highest risk to attempt suicide, and efforts to advance communication through advance directives and related strategies may lessen the risk that a veteran will suicide.”
These are our veterans. They are living in our communities. They are all around us. Identification and referral through QPR training is one way to help these veterans. We must train their friends, family members, employers, and healthcare providers.