In Light of New VA Report, IAVA Reiterates Call for Increased Attention to Veteran Suicide
New York, NY (June 21, 2018) – For several years, IAVA’s top advocacy priority has been to sustain the campaign to combat suicide among troops and veterans. In light of the the troubling VA Suicide Data Report just released, IAVA reiterates its call for the White House to ensure that this is a true national priority for the entire country.
The report states that there continue to be at least 20 suicides per day. And of the 20.6 suicides per day recorded, 16.8 were veterans and 3.8 were active-duty servicemembers, guardsmen and reservists. That’s new information. These numbers never before differentiated between active-duty troops and veterans. That means at least 1,387 servicemembers died by suicide in one year – 42 times the number of troops killed in combat in 2017!
And to put that further into perspective, despite veterans accounting for only 8.3% of the population in 2015, they constituted 14.3% of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults.
“This report reflects the truth of the menace so many of us have seen up-close since millions were called to serve after 9/11, “said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA . “It’s long past time that this becomes a true national priority for the White House and all Americans. Too many of our brothers and sisters are dying. IAVA sounded the alarm back in 2014 when we launched our groundbreaking Campaign to Combat Suicide – and pushed to pass the historic Clay Hunt SAV Act. That effort started the conversation, and has saved many lives, but we knew this would be more than a quick battle – it’s the fight of our generation. And we can’t stop now.”
In response to the facts laid out in this new report showing clearly that so much still needs to be done, IAVA reiterates its call on Congress to pledge to exercise strong oversight of the VA’s implementation of the Clay Hunt SAV Act, and hold the VA and DoD accountable to create an effective joint plan of action to end this crisis.