(JustPatriots.com)- According to a new study released on September 17 by America’s Warrior Partnership, suicide rates among America’s military veterans are more than double those reported by the government’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (AWP).
According to its official website, AWP is a nationwide nonprofit organization that seeks to collaborate with local communities to prevent veteran suicide.
To collect state-provided mortality data, the organization collaborated with the Universities of Alabama and Duke and worked with the Department of Defense (DoD) to determine military affiliation and “find similarities of the individual, military service, and their death.”
“Operation Deep Dive” (OpDD) is the name of the study (pdf), which AWP describes as a former military member suicide and self-injury mortality study spanning eight states and five years of death data validated by the DoD.
Alabama, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, and Oregon are the states that are included in the study. The DoD data was restricted to former service members who were male or female and between the ages of 18 and 64.
The time frame of five years is from 2014 to 2018.
According to AWP, veterans had a suicide rate that was 1.37 times higher than what the VA had formally reported over a five-year period.
Compared to the VA’s average of 17.7 veteran suicides per day from 2014 to 2018, if the eight states and age adjustment were used to calculate a national rate, there would be an average of 24 former military members (FSMs) officially pronounced dead every day.
Additionally, AWP discovered that VA has not considered Self-Injury Mortality (SIM), which it claimed is primarily linked to overdose deaths.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for ex-members of the Coast Guard, followed by the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force. The study found that those who served in the military for fewer than three years had the highest risk of suicide.
FSMs are more likely than non-FSMs to pass away from suicide, SIM (self-injury mortality), or natural causes like cancer or heart disease before age 64. Jim Lorraine, president and chief executive officer of AWP, stated in a press release that “better data is needed if we are to make progress in preventing former service member suicide.”
A Department of Veterans Affairs representative said the agency’s Annual Suicide Prevent Report “meets the quality and criteria of a peer-reviewed publication.”