VA Research Reveals High Suicide Rates Among Female Military Veterans | Law Firm Newswire

VA Research Reveals High Suicide Rates Among Female Military Veterans

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) July 16, 2015 - Women who have served in the military commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of women who have not, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Among these, female veterans ages 18 to 29 are 12 times more likely to commit suicide than their civilian counterparts. Studies show over 2,500 women who served in the military have committed suicide in the past 11 years.

Jim Fausone, a veterans attorney in Michigan, said, “Such high veteran suicide rates are unacceptable. Most research has focused on men and little is known about female veteran suicide. Women have not historically served in the military, so many healthcare professionals are falling behind when it comes to being prepared for the growing number of females in the armed forces. Providing medical staff with specialized training in treatment would help.”

Research suggests that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and other psychological problems are at a higher risk of suicidal behavior. Although suicide prevention has become one of the VA’s top concerns over the last decade, traditional prevention methods have failed to reduce rates.

According to a June 11 report in the New York Times, the VA has teamed up with National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers to develop a database to identify veterans with suicidal tendencies. Although the database cannot predict suicide in individuals, it may allow the pinpointing and subsequent treatment of high-risk patients who are often overlooked by doctors.

The VA, however, has also recently come under fire for prescription mismanagement and veteran suicide risk. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation has revealed that the department is failing to follow its own guidelines in the treatment of mentally ill veterans who are at high risk of suicide. The report also found that the VA’s suicide data is often inaccurate, which hampers suicide prevention efforts.

“The first step in addressing suicide prevention is for the VA to evaluate whether its current policies are working. They need to find out how many veterans are suffering from PTSD and other illnesses and whether they are receiving proper care. A culture of accountability should be cultivated. There is no excuse for medical mismanagement,” said Fausone.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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