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Health Agencies Update
October 24/31, 2017

New Data on Suicide Risk Among Military Veterans

JAMA. 2017;318(16):1531. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.15982

The suicide rate among female US military veterans has shown a dramatic increase, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported last month in a deeper analysis of data from its 2016 report showing that 20 US veterans take their own lives each day.

The further analysis of the 2016 report, which was based on data covering the years 2001-2014 and highlighted in a fact sheet, showed that the suicide rate among female veterans in 2014 was 19 per 100 000, a 62.4% increase since 2001. The figure is roughly 2.5 times higher than the rate among nonveteran US women (7.2 per 100 000). By contrast, among male US veterans, the 2014 suicide rate was 37.2 per 100 000, a 29.7% increase since 2001. The rate is 19% higher than that among US nonveteran males (25 per 100 000). But even though the gap between male and female veterans is closing slightly, men are still nearly twice as likely to take their own lives as women.

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