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Capitol Health Call
March 13, 2013

Suicides by Veterans

JAMA. 2013;309(10):973. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2059

A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) found that for fiscal years 2009 through 2012, of 147 763 reports of people who committed suicide from 21 states, 27 062 individuals, or 18.3%, were identified as having a history of military service on their death certificates and two-thirds of veterans who committed suicide were age 50 years or older.

The 2012 Suicide Data Report, released February 1, is the first to include suicide data for all veterans. Previous reports used only data regarding suicide deaths involving veterans who had sought VA health care services. The report also found that the percentage of all suicides identified as being committed by veterans has decreased slightly and that, on average, male veterans who died by suicide were older than nonveteran males who died by suicide, while the age distribution of veteran and civilian women who died from suicide was similar.