22 veterans commit suicide every day according to groundbreaking VA report

22 veterans commit suicide every day according to groundbreaking VA report

CONTACT: Zack Baddorf (212) 982-9699

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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22 veterans commit suicide every day according to groundbreaking VA report
Veteran Crisis Line shows lifesaving potential

NEW YORK (Feb. 1, 2013) – Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that about 22 veterans in the United States commit suicide every day, a 20 percent increase since 2007.

“This VA suicide report is the most important piece of data to be released since 2007,” IAVA founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff said. “The report data shows that veterans are committing suicide at a rate of 22 per day, up from 18 per day in 2007. Our leaders in Washington need to accelerate efforts to shrink wait times for mental health care and find more creative solutions like the Veteran Crisis Line. The country should be outraged that we are allowing this tragedy to continue.”

“The trends are headed in the wrong direction,” Rieckhoff said. “As veterans, we at IAVA understand the spectrum of challenges facing veterans transitioning home, including the struggle with invisible wounds. One thing is clear, we need more research and more collaboration.”

Also today, the Army reported 325 total suicides among active and reserve troops in 2012, a 15 percent increase over 283 suicides in 2011.

IAVA is working on more than one front to combat this crisis. Our innovative pilot Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) caseworkers connect daily with veterans struggling with suicidal ideation and a variety of other transition-related challenges. Through RRRP, IAVA works with government, nonprofit and private partners including the VA’s innovative Veterans Crisis Line and New York University’s Military Family Clinic to provide holistic care and support. We also partner with Vets Prevail, an innovative program supporting veteran mental health through technology. Through our partnership with the Ad Council, IAVA created Community of Veterans (COV), the first and largest online social network exclusively for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to connect over their shared experiences. Since its launch, COV has connected 24,000 veterans with peer-to-peer mental health support.

Veterans can reach out to IAVA at www.IAVA.org or contact the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, press 1) to be connected with health care and support services in their local areas.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator.

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