New Veterans Survey: 30 Percent Have Considered Taking Their Own Life

New Veterans Survey: 30 Percent Have Considered Taking Their Own Life

CONTACT: Carlisle Williams (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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New Veterans Survey: 30 Percent Have Considered Taking Their Own Life 

IAVA’s Annual Member Survey Also Indicates Disapproval of the President and Congress on Veterans Issues

NEW YORK (July 31, 2013) – According to a new survey completed by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 30 percent of members have considered taking their own life, while 45 percent of respondents know an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide. That is one critical finding from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA) 2013 Annual Member Survey, released today.  Member veterans provided insight into a number of vital issues, including education, employment, the disability claims backlog, mental health, and support for female veterans.  

The 2013 survey highlights some alarming downward trends in veteran care.  Forty-three percent of respondents said they did not seek care for mental health issues because of a perceived negative impact on their career, a 22 percent increase from IAVA’s 2012 survey. Forty percent of respondents have a disability claim pending with the VA.  Sixty percent of female respondents do not have a positive view of the VA’s care of women.

The survey also indicates veterans do not believe the President and Congress are doing enough for veterans.  Forty-four percent of respondents rank the President’s performance on improving the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as poor.  Fifty-five percent rank Congress’ performance on improving the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as poor. Furthermore, 66 percent do not think the President listens enough to new veterans and 80 percent do not think Congress listens enough to new veterans.

One area where respondents had a positive response is education. Eighty-four percent of respondents in school are satisfied with their education programs, with more than two-thirds currently using New GI Bill benefits. 

The full 2013 Annual Member Survey is available for download here.

Additional highlights from the survey include:

Mental Health:

•80% of new veterans don’t believe troops and veterans are getting the care and support needed for mental health injuries

•37% know an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who committed suicide

Women Veterans:

•62% of female respondents do not have a positive view of the VA’s care for women

Claims:

•40% of respondents have a claim pending with the VA, while 65% of disability claims are related to PTSD

Education:

•42% of respondents or their dependents either are using or have used the New GI Bill

Employment:

•45% of respondents who are unemployed have been unemployed for one year or longer

“The annual survey is one of the largest surveys of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and serves as an opportunity to hear from our members on the defining issues affecting the New Greatest Generation.  These findings are instrumental in shaping our policy priorities and informing our work to improve the lives of all veterans and their families,” said Derek Bennett, IAVA Chief of Staff. “On issues critical to veterans – including mental health care and disability claims – it’s clear that they deserve better.”

IAVA works closely with the Military and Veteran Crisis Line to ensure that every service member, veteran, family member and provider knows that there is free and confidential help available 24 hours a day through phone, text and online. Veterans, or those concerned about veterans, can call 800-273-8255 and press 1 to be directly connected to qualified responders.

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 and has more than 270,000 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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