Record high military suicides in 2012
Posted by Paul Rieckhoff on January 16
On Monday, the Department of Defense reported that 349 active duty service members took their own lives in 2012 - the highest number since they began closely tracking suicides in 2001.
This national crisis has building for years. In 2012, the number of suicides rose by a shocking 16%. And this number even fails to account for the veterans who commit suicide after they leave the military - a number which no one officially tracks. But the VA estimated in 2009 that 18 veterans commit suicide every day. In IAVA’s 2012 Member Survey, 37% of our members said someone they served with or another post-9/11 vet they knew had committed suicide.
For the last decade, IAVA has fought for policy changes in Washington, including the establishment of the Suicide Prevention Line through the Joshua Omvig suicide prevention bill and the institution of mandatory mental health screenings. We also supported recent legislation that strengthens suicide prevention measures across the DoD and VA.
We haven’t found the perfect solution yet - but we aren’t letting up. We’ve built many effective programs and partnerships that support and empower veterans and their families in need of mental health support. The caseworkers for IAVA’s innovative Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) connect with vets experiencing suicidal ideation and other transition-related challenges. It’s still a New York-focused pilot program – but we’re trying to scale up operations quickly, as we know how important services like this are.
In 2008, IAVA also partnered with the Ad Council to launch one of the largest non-governmental public service announcement (PSA) campaigns in American history, reaching tens of thousands of veterans. Through this partnership, we introduced Community of Veterans (COV) - a vets-only social network where they can talk about a wide range of issues in a safe place.
And IAVA’s partnership with the VA’s confidential Veterans Crisis Line (800-273-8255 press 1) is another step in the right direction. Through this service, vets can get immediate care from professionals. Please take a moment to save the number in your phone; you never know when it will come in handy for you or a buddy.
Vets in need of help need to know that they are not alone.
In just the last year, IAVA has connected hundreds of veterans with employers through innovative career fairs, helped over 10,000 veterans go to college on the New GI Bill, and provided mental health support to over 50,000 veterans—all at no cost to Member Veterans. Programs like these are only made possible through your generous support. Fight for those who fought for us and help us keep these resources and benefits completely free for new veterans and their families. DONATE >>
Not an IAVA member yet? What are you waiting for?! IAVA Member Veterans get access to exclusive career fairs, events and tickets. Join up today--membership is free and all you have to do is submit proof of OIF/OND/OEF status.
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