Suicide has increased significantly over the last six years for American military service members and veterans. The number reached 28.7 per 100,000 service members in 2020. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are boosting their efforts to help prevent suicide and reduce rates among those groups.
- Alyssa Hundrup, director for health care at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), said the Defense Department and the VA have made serious commitments to suicide prevention but that DoD needs to examine how well individual initiatives are working and the VA must address inaccurate data about on-campus suicides.
- Hundrup said DoD data from 2020 show an increase in military service member suicide rates, with a 40% increase over the last six years, and VA data from 2019 show that veterans are dying from suicide at almost twice the rate of non-veterans.
- She said both departments agree with most of GAO’s recommendations.