VA — Suicide Data Report, 2012

February 1, 2013

Suicide Data Report, 2012 (PDF)

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Major findings of the report include:

  • While the percentage of all suicides reported as Veterans has decreased, the number of suicides has increased.
  • A majority of Veteran suicides are among those age 50 years and older. Male Veterans who die by suicide are older than non-Veteran males who die by suicide.
  • The age distribution of Veteran and non-Veteran women who have died from suicide is similar. The demographic characteristics of Veterans who have died from suicide are similar among those with and without a history of VHA service use.
  • Among those at risk, the first 4 weeks following service require intensive monitoring and case management (which verifies the importance of the Enhanced Care Package for those at high risk).
  • There is preliminary evidence in 2012 indicating a decrease in the rate of non-fatal suicide events for VHA utilizing Veterans.
  • Decreasing rates of non-fatal suicide events are associated with increasing age. The data show a decrease in the 12 month re-event prevalence in fiscal year (FY) 2012.
  • The majority of Veterans who have a suicide event were last seen in an outpatient setting. A high prevalence of non-fatal suicide events result from overdose or other intentional poisoning.
  • Continued increases in calls to the Veterans Crisis Line may be associated with efforts to enhance awareness of VHA services through public education campaigns.
  • The majority of callers to the Veterans Crisis Line are male and between the ages of 50-59.
  • Differences in the age composition of callers to the Veterans Crisis Line are associated with gender.
  • A large percentage of callers to the Veterans Crisis Line are identified as Veterans.
  • Approximately 19 percent of callers to the Veterans Crisis Line call more than once each month.
  • The percentage of callers to the Veterans Crisis Line who are currently thinking of suicide has decreased.
  • The percentage of all calls resulting in a rescue has decreased, indicating that the calls are less emergent and callers are using the Crisis Line earlier. The percentage of callers receiving a referral for follow-up care is increasing.
  • Approximately 93 percent of all Veterans Crisis Line referrals are made to callers with a history of VHA service use in the past 12 months. Service use continues to increase following a referral for care.
  • Between FY 2009 – FY 2011, use of inpatient and outpatient services increased following a rescue.
  • The 12 month re-event prevalence has decreased among those who have been rescued or received a referral for follow-up care.
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