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Veterans more likely than civilians to commit suicide

An analysis of veterans suicides by the Department of Veterans Affairs sheds new light on high-risk groups of veterans.

The report, billed as the most comprehensive analysis to date, examined completed suicides between 2001 and 2014.

Unlike previous reports from the department, this one combines information on all recorded veteran suicides across the US. It shows that in 2014 veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths by suicide among U.S. adults.

Nearly 70 percent of those deaths involved a firearm. 

The report also found the risk for suicide in veterans was 21 percent higher than for people who have not served in the military.

VA Puget Sound’s Dr. David Ruskin says vets in crisis can come in anytime and receive a comprehensive mental health evaluation that day.

But he acknowledges getting vets to seek treatment before a crisis can be a challenge.

That issue is brought out in another finding from the Department's analysis.

Of the 20 veterans a day who died by suicide in 2014 only a third used Veteran Health Administration services.